The Associated Press
Lisa Marie Smith, 31, was charged with two counts of capital murder shortly after being released from the Dallas hospital where she was treated for burns and a cut on her left wrist.
Smith looked pained and kept her back turned to television cameras as she appeared in court Wednesday afternoon.
She was being held on suicide watch, with bond set at $2 million. Firefighters found William Cody Smith, 5, and Tristen Thomas Smith, 3, dead in a bed Tuesday after a man in the neighborhood reported smoke coming from the home. Smith was on the floor next to them.
Police Sgt. Jim Hammond said investigators, who have talked to Smith and her friends believe that the children were strangled Sunday night after they opened Christmas presents and ate pizza.
Hammond said that officers haven’t pieced together the mother’s actions between Sunday night and Tuesday, when they believe she disconnected a gas line from the back of a kitchen stove in an attempt to kill herself. Police believe a fire might have been ignited by the pilot light on the water heater.
The boys lived with their father after the couple divorced but were visiting their mother at the time of the fire. Six months ago, police went to the family’s one-story red brick home after getting a call about a “possible suicidal person.”
A doctor told police at the time that Smith was suicidal because she had lost custody of her children.
Jerrell Walker, assistant principal of Richardson Heights Elementary School, said Smith was well regarded. “She is a great teacher, and I wouldn’t have hesitated to put my child in that class because she was doing all the things she needed to do. She read to the kids.