Could Bundick Get 62 Separate Trials? - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Could Bundick Get 62 Separate Trials?

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ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. - The judge in the case of Tonya Bundick said he wants to begin his review of a motion filed for over five dozen different trials by Monday.  The defense for convicted arsonist, Tonya Bundick, wants to have separate trials for each one of Bundick's counts of arson.

Both the defense and prosecution made their cases for and against the 62 separate trials Thursday in court.  The prosecution believes because all of the crimes had a "common plan," they should be tried together.  Commonwealth Attorney, Gary Agar, said that common plan was to enhance the relationship between Bundick, and her fiance, Charles Smith.  Smith has already plead guilty to 67 counts of arson for a crime spree that lasted from November 2012 to April 2013.  Smith told police about each of their involvements with the arson fires on the night he and Bundick were arrested.

"After she did that first one, it just seemed like some of her problems went away.  I'd basically do anything for her," Smith told police last April.

During his confession, Smith told police he believed setting fires was a stress reliever for Bundick and that he would eventually take over the operation after a night where she was nearly spotted by police.

And to Agar's argument in court Thursday, Smith told police during his confession about a problem with intimacy and why he agreed to set to many fires in Accomack County.

"Up until a few night ago, we hadn't had sex in almost 18 months and that was the only problem in our relationship.  So basically, I was doing whatever I could to keep her."

Agar said Smith and Bundick's common plan was sticking together by committing these crimes and thus all 62 of Bundick's charges should be tried together.  Bundick's attorney, Allan Zaleski, disagrees.

"I don't think that's a legal reason. But, who knows. That's Mr. Agar. He's very thoughtful," said Zaleksi after court on Thursday.

Zaleski argued that the fires Bundick allegedly played a part in all happened on different nights, at different buildings, and in different parts of the county.  They are all different crimes, and should be tried separately, according to Zaleski.  But the common plan argument used by Agar is something the judge called intriguing.  The judge said he will need time to review the testimony of both Smith and Bundick from Bundick's previous trial in Virginia Beach.  The judge also wants to review Smith's statements to police the night Bundick and Smith were arrested in Melfa, back on April 2nd of 2013.  Zaleski said that he needs to defend Bundick and believes trying her charges all together will not have their preferred ending.

Zaleski also told the media outside of court Monday that the judge's ruling is the only thing he and his client are focusing on at this time.  The decision on whether Bundick's case goes before a jury hinges on the judge's decision on this motion for separate trials.

There is no time frame, yet, as to when the judge will make a decision on that motion.

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