DECEMBER 30, 06:30 EST

Mother Accused of Killing Sons
Associated Press

RICHARDSON, Texas (AP) — A second-grade teacher has been charged with killing her two young sons, accused of strangling them and then trying to kill herself because she was upset over a custody battle.

Lisa Marie Smith, 31, was charged with two counts of capital murder Wednesday after being released from the Dallas hospital where she was treated for burns and a cut on her left wrist.

Firefighters found the bodies of William Smith, 5, and Tristen Smith, 3, in a bed on Tuesday after a report of smoke coming from the home. Ms. Smith was on the floor next to them.

Police Sgt. Jim Hammond said investigators believe the children were strangled Sunday night after they opened Christmas presents and ate pizza. Their mother may have disconnected a gas line from a stove in an attempt to kill herself.

Authorities said Ms. Smith had been upset over losing custody of her sons to her former husband. The boys lived with their father after the couple divorced but were visiting their mother at the time of the fire.

Copyright 1999 Associated Press.