A soldier's wife has been charged with setting a fire at their Kentucky Army base home that killed her two young children.
Billi Jo Smallwood, 35, also faces a federal charge of attempting to destroy a residential facility for members of the U.S. Army that caused the death of two minors, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Tuesday.
The May 2007 fire at Fort Campbell killed 9-year-old Sam Fagan and 2-year-old Rebekah Smallwood, and injured her husband, Army Spc. Wayne Smallwood. The Smallwoods' toddler daughter, Nevaeh, was not injured.
Billi Smallwood, of Brunswick, Ga., who is in federal custody, could face execution or life in prison if convicted. Her two federal defense attorneys in Georgia, Jimmy Hardy and Virginia Natasha Perdew-Silas, did not immediately return a message seeking comment left after office hours.
The fire broke out in a two-story housing unit where six families lived in a housing development called Lee Village that dates to the 1940s and was in the process of being torn down. About 10,000 family members live in housing on the sprawling base that straddles the Tennessee-Kentucky state line, according to the most recent Fort Campbell fiscal report.
The unsealed federal grand jury indictment said Smallwood planned to set the fire with the intention of causing a person's death and her motive was to receive money. Dawn Masden, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Paducah, would not elaborate on the details of the indictment and would not say who she was targeting.
Cathy Gramling, a spokeswoman for Fort Campbell, said Smallwood's husband is still assigned to the base but had no further comment.
A detention hearing has been set for Friday in federal court in Gainesville, Ga. She also has an arraignment scheduled before a U.S. magistrate judge on Dec. 10 in Kentucky.