New trial granted for midstate woman in fatal 1972 arson

Written by The Associated Press | Apr 21, 2015 1:53 AM

(Carlisle) -- A judge has ordered a new trial for a midstate woman sentenced to life in prison more than four decades ago in a fatal arson case. 

Cumberland County Judge Edward Guido has granted a request to vacate the 1973 conviction of 62-year-old Letitia Smallwood of Carlisle. 

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

Guido cited what he called a "revolution'' that has taken place in arson investigations into causes and origins of fire over the past 20 years. 

Marissa Bluestine, legal director of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, called the decision ``a life-changer'' for Smallwood, who is scheduled to have a bail hearing Friday. 

District Attorney David Freed said he intends to appeal the judge's decision to state Superior Court.  

Published in Carlisle, Cumberland County, News

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