Eastern Shore of Va. Arson Suspect Pleads Guilty to All Counts
Charles R. Smith III
ACCOMAC, Va.– Charles R. Smith III on Thursday pleaded guilty to arson and conspiracy charges in connection with an Eastern Shore of Virginia arson spree.
Smith pleaded guilty to all 68 counts he was facing Thursday morning in Accomack county court. The maximum sentence Smith now faces is 584 years in prison and potentially over five million dollars in fines.
Smith's attorney said the change in plea comes after the defense was able to take plenty of time and review more evidence that they were unable to look at prior to Smith's original arraignment.
"What was needed was an opportunity to have that discovery order entered which it was on our arraignment day and after spending hours and hours reviewing those documents, that changed the tenne of the plea from the not guilty plea to a guilty plea," said Smith's attorney, Carl Bundick.
Another piece of evidence that Bundick referred to was 4 DVD's of interrogation video provided by state police from the day Smith was arrested in April. One of the DVD's is video of police driving Smith around Accomack County to different fires and Smith would confirm or deny his involvement in each arson. The attorney for the Commonwealth of Virginia did not wish to get into detail about the court proceedings.
"When I make statements to the press, then it could influence the public. We still have another case to present with regards to these fires so any comments I make could be called into question," said Commonwealth of Virginia attorney, Gary Agar.
The trial Agar was referring to is for Tonya Bundick, Smith's finance, who faces one count of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson. Smith's attorney said it is an uncertainly if Smith will testify in Bundick's case. What Bundick was able to divulge about his client was the toll the ordeal has taken on Smith.
Bundick said, "Mr. Smith is very remorseful."
There is no date set yet for sentencing but the judge is hoping for a date in December.
There is no date yet for the start of Tonya Bundick's trial which has been moved to Virginia Beach.
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