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Fort Campbell Woman Sentenced 25 Years for Fatal Fire

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Billi Jo Smallwood

A Fort Campbell woman accused of trying to collect on her Army husband's life insurance policy has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for setting fire to her home and killing two of her children. Billi Jo Smallwood maintained her innocence at her sentencing Thursday in Louisville. 39-year-old Smallwood could have been given life in prison. She was convicted in federal court of maliciously setting fire to the family’s housing unit in 2007 while her children slept inside. Prosecutors say her intent was to kill her husband and cash in his $400,000 insurance policy. The fire killed 9-year-old Sam Fagan and 2-year-old Rebekah Smallwood while Smallwood's husband and their young daughter survived.

Whitney grew up listening to Car Talk to and from her family’s beach vacation each year, but it wasn’t until a friend introduced her to This American Life that radio really grabbed her attention. She is a recent graduate from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., where she studied journalism. When she’s not at WKMS, you can find her working on her backyard compost pile and garden, getting lost on her bicycle or crocheting one massive blanket.
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