Carlisle woman released from prison to await new trial in fatal ’72 arson

UPDATE: Letitia Smallwood was released late Monday night.

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – A Carlisle woman sentenced to life behind bars for a fatal arson more than four decades ago is getting out of prison while she awaits her new trial.

Her attorney said 62-year-old Letitia Smallwood will be released from Muncy state prison this afternoon.

Cumberland County Judge Edward Guido vacated Smallwood’s 1973 conviction and granted her a new trial last month. He also ruled that she should be released on $20,000 unsecured bail, but her release was stalled by an unrelated sentence on prison contraband charges in 1983 and 1995.

Smallwood was convicted in an August 1972 fire that killed two people.

Prosecutors said a lovers’ quarrel prompted her to set fire to a building on North Pitt Street. Her attorneys argued that modern fire science has since discounted the theories once used in arson cases.

District Attorney David Freed has appealed the judge’s ruling to Superior Court.

Smallwood’s bail has conditions. She must live in Carlisle, she can’t leave Pennsylvania, she has to report to a probation office every two weeks, and she cannot contact the family of the people who died in the 1972 fire.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s