ACCOMACK COUNTY-Charles Smith pleaded guilty Thursday to setting fires on the Eastern Shore.
Smith will be sentenced in December on 67 counts of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson. He faces a maximum of more than 500 years in prison and a fine of more than $5 million.
Authorities say Smith and his girlfriend, Tonya Bundick, set fire to abandoned buildings in Accomack County during a five-month arson spree. They were caught April 2 leaving the scene of a fire. Va. State Police say officers stopped their van as it left the building on Airport Road in Melfa.
After court, defense attorney Carl Bundick called Smith "very remorseful" and that he decided to plead guilty after seeing the evidence against him. He also said Smith has been diagnosed as bipolar and is now on medication.
A search warrant revealed Smith admitted the pair set 52 of the 77 arsons that occurred between mid-November 2012 and April. It also showed that authorities seized a plastic gas can and other items from their home.
Smith is a former firefighter, but he was not a firefighter at the time of the arsons.
Trial date for Bundick has not been set because her attorney withdrew from the case, citing conflict of interest with another case. She's charged with one count each of arson and conspiracy to commit arson.
It wasn't clear whether Smith will testify at her trial, but his attorney said it was a possibility.