Serial Arson Suspect Faces Trial in Accomack County - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Serial Arson Suspect Faces Trial in Accomack County

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Charles R. Smith III Charles R. Smith III

PARKSLEY, Va.- Throughout Accomack County, people are anxiously awaiting the much-anticipated court date of Charles R. Smith II, who is facing 67 counts of arson. The more than 70 arsons terrorized the county, and grabbed the attention of the entire region, as police searched for the person responsible.

Smith, and his girlfriend Tonya Bundick, are accused of setting fire to a string of structures along Virginia's Eastern Shore. Bundick is facing just one count of arson in Accomack County. A bench trial for Smith is scheduled on Thursday.

Belinda Sterling, who lives in Bloxom, said she knew the Smith and was shocked to hear that he was the suspect.

"I've known Charlie for years," she said. "And I tell you it was an astonishing fact when it came out that he'd been arrested. And knowing - or thinking that's who the arsonists were."

Sterling said she has families who are active firefighters in her hometown, and so the string of fires were personal to her.

"We were just petrified every night going to sleep," she said. "Just to hear the sirens go off again and just know that our firefighters - my family members were once again putting their lives on the line."

The vast majority of the fires were set in Accomack County, and remarkably nobody was injured in these arsons. This was due to the fact that most of the fires were set to abandoned shelters where nobody was living.

Sadra Bailey, of Bloxom recalled telling her young children about the fires. She said it was difficult to explain why these incidents were happening.

"It was really scary because you didn't know who he was going to strike next," she said. "Who he was gonna come burn up. You don't know. You never know. So you just scared."

Sterling said it was unclear at this point if Smith was in fact the arsonist. She said that she trusts the legal system to give him a fair trial, and find out the truth.

"(Smith) has a child," she said. "I don't wish him any harm. I hope that if he is convicted that he serves the time justified for the crimes he committed."

Bundick's trial was initially set for Nov. 26, but on Tuesday her lawyer chose to withdraw from the case. Bundick's courtdate is now pending until she can find new counsel.

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