Trial Begins for Va. Eastern Shore Arson Suspect - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Trial Begins for Va. Eastern Shore Arson Suspect

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Tonya S. Bundick Tonya S. Bundick

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WBOC/AP)- The first of two trials of a woman charged in a series of fires on Virginia's Eastern Shore got under way Monday in Virginia Beach.

In this week's trial, 41-year-old Tonya S. Bundick of Parksley faces one charge of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson in connection with the string of fires that happened between November 2012 and April 2013. 

Eight women and six men were chosen to serve on Bundick's jury, with two of them to serve as alternates. By mid-afternoon, several witnesses were called to the stand to testify, including her fiance and convicted arsonist, Charles Smith.

Smith told the jury about the very first fire back in November 2012 and how he was unsuccessful in lighting it, and said Bundick started that fire.

Smith told police how he initially wanted no part of the crimes but when Bundick was nearly caught setting a fire he said, "I decided to take over and light the fires myself."

When asked about a plan or scheme to the crimes, Smith told the court, "There weren't no pattern" and he continued, "Sometimes we'd do it, sometimes we didnt."

The judge called a recess after the prosecution questioned Smith on Monday.  On Tuesday, the defense will have its chance to question him.

Bundick's trial was moved from Accomack County to Virginia Beach last October. Her lawyer requested the change of venue because of media coverage of the fires. 

In December, a judge refused to move the trial again after Bundick said she was concerned that she would not get a fair trial in Virginia Beach. She said portions of Smith's confession aired on news stations in Hampton Roads.

Bundick faces more than 60 other arson charges in connection with the fires. A second trial will be held on those charges at a later date.

Smith has pleaded guilty to 67 arson counts and a conspiracy charge.

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