Accomack County, Va. – The two people Virginia State Police believe set more than 70 arsons on the Eastern Shore over a five month period were in court today.
The testimony in Accomack General District Court lasted nearly 3 hours.
Virginia State Police say Tonya Bundick and her fiancee Charlie Smith are responsible for setting the majority of the arson in Accomack County between November 2012 and April 1, 2013.
Currently, Bundick and Smith are only charged with a fire that occurred at a home on Airport Drive in Melfa on the night of April 1st.
They were in court today for a preliminary hearing on those charges, which included one count of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson each. The judge certified all the charges sending them to the Grand Jury.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Agar called 8 witnesses during the hearing, including two Virginia State Troopers who were on surveillance in a tent in the woods near the Airport Drive fire.
One trooper testified that he watched a man exit a van and run towards the back of the house and set material on fire through his night-vision goggles.
Bundick and Smith were stopped in a mini-van a short distance away and taken into custody.
At that traffic stop, Accomack County Sheriff Todd Godwin testified that Smith looked him in the eyes and said “Todd, I’m sorry, but I didn’t light them all.”
In a portion of a transcript read aloud in the courtroom of an interview Smith did with investigators in the early morning of April 2, he said “I knew we were busted before we did it.” Smith believed the house was a set-up based on the number of cars in the area.
While Virginia State Police believe Bundick and Smith are responsible for the majority of the arsons, the charges for the Airport Drive fire are currently the only ones they are facing.