Student charged with CNU arsons gets public defender

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by 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on April 17, 2013 at 8:30 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 6:37 PM

NEWPORT NEWS -- A Christopher Newport University student is charged with setting five small fires in buildings on campus on Tuesday.

20-year-old Davant Keith Marshall was arrested Wednesday and was appointed a public defender at Thursday morning's arraignment.

Marshall, who doesn't live in campus housing, is now on interim suspension from the university, officials said.

His arrest was the result of State Police, CNU Police, Newport News Police, the Newport News Fire Marshal's Office and ATF.

Meanwhile, classes resumed at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday after being cancelled Tuesday night because of the five 'suspicious' fires.

The first was reported around 12:15 p.m. in a men's restroom in David Student Union and the building was evacuated. Jacobs said the fire was quickly put out and the building reopened.  Initially, investigators determined there was no foul play involved.

About two hours later, around 2:35 p.m.,  there was fire in a bathroom at Freeman Center. That building was also evacuated, the fire put out and the Center reopened just before 4:00 p.m.

At 4:44 p.m., the third fire in four hours was found in a restroom at McMurran Hall.  The sprinkler system went off and put out the fire.

Then around 5:00 p.m., two fires started in restrooms at Forbes Hall.

Soon after, CNU cancelled night classes and warned students to be vigilant and all residence halls were on card access only.

Students were not happy about the chain of events.

"It’s ridiculous yeah. It's something as a student you don't wish to happen, especially in the wake of like the anniversary of Virginia Tech, so it's a real sad thing and after the Boston bombing, too,” said Zach Youngman, a senior on the CNU basketball team.

Freshman Laura Genevish is confident in the university and police, but she admits she feels “… a little bit safe, but in the back of my mind, I’m terrified.”

Jacobs said all residence halls were card-access only until further notice and CNU ordered "a significant number of additional uniformed police officers on campus to provide extra security," according to officials.

Classes started up again at 8 a.m. and all classes were on schedule.  Some changed locations as a result of the investigation.

 

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