Accused Eastern Shore Arsonist Requests Separate Trials For Each Of 62 Fires | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Accused Eastern Shore Arsonist Requests Separate Trials For Each Of 62 Fires

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A judge in Accomack County, Va., has delayed making a decision on whether or not to grant alleged arsonist Tonya Bundick's request for separate trials in each of her arson cases.

Tonya Bundick is charged with 62 counts of arson, and she and her attorneys are asking for 62 different trials — claiming that each fire was different and should not be tried as one large body of work.

Prosecutors, however, claim the 62 fires in 134 days have “narrow fact patterns." All were done at night, the buildings were all unoccupied, no accelerant was used to start the fires, and most importantly, the fires were a way she and fiancé Charles Smith healed their rocky relationship. So, those facts warrant a single comprehensive trial for the arson spree that put much of Virginia’s Eastern Shore on high alert for five months in 2012.

And while the judge isn't ready to make that decision, he did rule that Bundick will be allowed to wear makeup and properly wash her hair before she appears in court after her lawyers argued that she was not allowed to properly groom herself “as a lady would” before her last day in court.

Bundick entered an Alford plea to charges of arson and conspiracy to commit arson at her Virginia Beach trial in January, meaning she pleaded guilty while still asserting her innocence.

Smith pleaded guilty in October to 68 charges related to 67 fires. He has not yet been sentenced.

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