Eastern Shore arson suspect indicted on 62 counts of arson

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Associated Press & 13News Now

Posted on December 2, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 3 at 1:24 AM

Update 12/2:  Eastern Shore arson suspect Tonya Bundick, who was out on bond, was arrested Monday after being indicted by an Accomack County Grand Jury on 62 counts of arson, according to Accomack County Clerk of Court. 

According to defense attorney Allan Zaleski, he will ask for a change of venue for his client on Wednesday, Dec. 11. 

UPDATE 11/21:  Tonya Bundick will go before a grand jury in Accomack County on Dec. 2 and may be indicted on additional charges, her attorney told 13News Now.

Defense attorney Allan Zaleski tells WVEC.com that Eastern Shore arson suspect, Tonya Bundick, wants the location of her trial to be moved for the the second time. 

A judge granted Bundick's first attorney a change-of-venue request from Accomack County to Virginia Beach.  That attorney then stopped representing her, citing a conflict of interest.

Zaleski, who was then appointed as Bundick's new attorney, feels the jury pool would be tainted in Virginia Beach because of previous media coverage.

13News Now took to the streets of Virginia Beach Town Center where we found no one who recognized Bundick's picture or the picture of her fiance and accused accomplice Charles Smith, III.

Most also knew little, if anything, about the case from Eastern Shore.

"I work for a credit union, and we have branches over there, so we have some of our staff, so I know it was a very trying time," said Cathy Harmon, explaining she was aware of few details involving the arsons.

"If they were to keep it on the Eastern Shore? Maybe not so much a fair trial, but over here, it's people that didn't know her," noted Harmon who thinks a trial move outside of Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads is unnecessary.

"To me, she did the crime in this area, she should be tried in this area. She should be tried in this area amongst her peers, and the people that live in this area," said Bill Harmon. "It's just a lawyer doing what he gets paid to do: trying to give his client the upper hand, and, hopefully, our judicial system will not let him succeed."

A judge will rule on December 11 whether to grant or deny the change of venue request, Zaleski said. 

UPDATE 11/5:  Allan D. Zaleski has been appointed Bundick's new attorney, according to the Accomack County Circuit Court Clerk's Office. 

UPDATE 10/29:  The attorneys for Tonya Bundick have withdrawn from the case, citing a conflict of interest.  Garrett and Shannon Dunham made the motion to withdraw as counsel Tuesday.

Bundick's jury trial, which was set to begin in Virginia Beach on November 6, has been delayed until she is appointed a new attorney.

Bundick's fiance, 40-year-old Charles Smith III, faces 67 arson counts and one conspiracy count.His bench trial will begin in Accomack County Thursday.

UPDATE 3:15 p.m.: Accomack County Sheriff's Office confirms arson suspect Tonya Bundick has been released on bail.

9/23: 1:15pm update: Tonya Bundick is in the process of posting bail, according to authorities at the Accomack Co. jail.  Her trial is set for November 6.
Smith's trial is set for December 16. 

ACCOMACK (AP) -- A woman suspected of setting a string of fires on Virginia's Eastern Shore has been granted bond.
 
The Accomack County Circuit Court clerk's office said a judge ruled Thursday that Tonya Bundick of Parksley could be released on a $30,000 secured bond.
 
As a condition of her bond, the 38-year-old can't leave Accomack or Northampton counties unless it is medically necessary.
 
Earlier this month a grand jury indicted Bundick on one count of arson and one count of conspiracy.
 
Her fiance, 40-year-old Charles Smith III, faces 67 arson counts and one conspiracy count. He remains held without bond in the Accomack County Jail.
 
Investigators have said the couple is responsible for most of the 77 arsons on the Eastern Shore since last fall. They were arrested in April.

Officials at the Accomack County Jail told 13News Now Bundick has not yet posted bond.
 

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