Accomack arson suspect Tonya Bundick changes plea to guilty

Posted at 1:14 PM, Jan 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-14 20:27:25-05

Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) - The second day of trial for Accomack arson defendant Tonya Bundick ended abruptly Tuesday when she entered an Alford plea.

An Alford Plea means that she does not admit guilt, but does admit that there is enough evidence to convict her.

Bundick was on trial for one count of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson for a fire that occurred on Airport Drive in Melfa on April 1, 2013.

Her co-defendant and one-time fiancee Charlie Smith plead guilty to 68 counts of arson and conspiracy to commit arson back in late October. He's still awaiting sentencing.

She faces up to 20 years in prison and $5,000 fine when she's sentenced.

"She understands the process, understands the procedure and what remains ahead of her," commented defense attorney Chris Zaleski.

Prior to Bundick's plea change, her defense attorneys questioned the testimony of Smith from Monday.

They repeatedly asked about his prior self-admitted drug use, his inability to perform sexually with Bundick for nearly 18 months and his prior felony convictions.

They also suggested the Smith was only taking the stand and testifying against Bundick in order to try and knock some time off his own sentence.

Bundick also testified in her own defense Tuesday, repeatedly insisting that she had no knowledge of the fires.

She also questioned Smith's character, saying she had drug-tested him before allowing him to move-in with her, and even though he passed, she still thought he acted sporadically at times.

On the night they were arrested, Bundick told the jury that she and Smith had traveled to a Walmart store in Maryland to purchase birthday gifts for her two sons.

While there, she said they got into an argument over his desire to purchase a box of Steak-umm, and the bad feelings from that fight carried through the night.

Still, she insisted she had no idea that he was going to set a fire when she let him out of the van they were driving the night of April 1, 2013.

Ultimately though, at the conclusion of all testimony, Bundick decided not to put her fate in the hands of the jury and instead entered the Alford pleas.

She has also been indicted on 62 additional counts by a grand jury in December; however this week’s trial was only for the April 1st fire in Melfa.

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