Woman gets life sentence for helping husband plan killings

HUNTSVILLE (Ala.) -- A woman from Alabama was sentenced Wednesday to life for her role in helping her husband plan the 2015 murders of her pregnant wife, her unborn baby, and three other people.

Woman gets life sentence for helping husband plan killings

HUNTSVILLE (Ala.) -- A woman from Alabama was sentenced Wednesday to life for her role in helping her husband plan the 2015 murders of her pregnant wife, her unborn baby, and three other people.

Rhonda Carlson (48) escaped the death penalty through a plea deal with prosecutors. She also testified against Christopher Henderson before his trial. She confessed to having helped plan the attack and was sentenced for life without parole.

In July, a jury convicted Henderson of the stabbing and shooting deaths of Kristin Smallwood, her unborn child; Clayton Chambers, her 8-year old son; Eli Sokolowski (her 1-year-old nephew); and Carol Jean Smallwood, her mother. He was sentenced earlier this month.

Five bodies were discovered in a house that was burned to the ground in August 2015. This happened less than one week after Kristin Smallwood applied for a court order keeping Henderson from the property. Henderson had married Carlson and was not divorcing Smallwood.

Carlson admitted that she helped plan the murders, but denied taking part in them. She said that Henderson had attacked five victims before she arrived at New Market, where the murders occurred.

Carlson's lawyer Erin Atkins discussed the sentence with WHT-TV Monday.

"She clearly acknowledges and accepts her part in the crime and she has pleaded guilty. Atkins stated that while she acknowledged that she was involved, Atkins also said that she accepts responsibility for her part in the deaths.

Carlson was required to sign a plea agreement, which waived her right for a jury trial or separate sentencing hearing.

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