FBI agents testify at Accomack arson suspect’s court appearance

Posted at 11:09 AM, Jun 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-16 17:41:18-04

Accomack County, Va. (WTKR) - Eastern Shore arson suspect Tonya Bundick once again found herself before a judge Monday morning and this time two FBI agents took the witness stand.

Bundick was in Accomack County Circuit Court for a motions hearing prior to her next jury trial, set to begin in Virginia Beach in July.

Bundick's attorney filed two motions: one asking to limit what evidence the Commonwealth could present at trial, asking that it be limited to the specific fire being tried.

The other motion requested that the Commonwealth turn over an FBI report detailing the use of scent dogs during the search for arson suspects in Accomack County in March 2013.

Two FBI agents took the stand Monday detailing their work collecting human scents from evidence collected at fire scenes and allowing dogs to search for routes of travel.

The agents testified that the work didn't produce much progress and no suspects were ever developed and that they were never asked back after the initial two days in mid-March.

"We did get some positives with some directions of travel, but this was early in an investigation, they are at face value. It’s a direction, it's not anything definitive," explained FBI agent Wyn Warren while on the witness stand.

"We were out for two days and we did some preliminary work in the case and we ended up never coming back because the case was resolved," testified FBI agent Rex Stockham.

The judge said that even though it was clear to him that the FBI testimony cleared up that the dogs work was never meant to include or exclude suspects, he still ordered any FBI report to be turned over to Bundick's defense attorney, Allan Zaleski.

"It could mean something, it could not mean something. That's the first time I've ever had FBI agents in a state courtroom. They usually don't come," he told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo outside of the courthouse.

On the other motion to limit evidence introduction, Judge Glen Tyler did not grant the motion but did say he would be very strict about monitoring mention of other fires in the trial.

He did order Accomack Commonwealth Attorney Gary Agar not to make mention of any fire or crime other than the one on trial during opening statements in July.

For her part, Bundick was quiet in court, being led in wearing cuffs around her feet.

She permitted Zaleski to do all the talking, though at times she scribbled notes and whispered to him.

Bundick and her former lover Charlie Smith were charged with setting dozens of fires in Accomack County between November 2012 and April 2013.

Smith entered a guilty plea to all the charges against him in October 2013.

He is still awaiting sentencing.

Bundick went on trial for one count of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson in January.

After two days of testimony, she entered an Alford plea to those charges before the case went to the jury.

That means she thought there was enough evidence to convict without acknowledging guilt.

Bundick has not been sentenced on those charges yet.

She still faces 62 additional counts of arson from a December 2013 Grand Jury indictment, but Judge Tyler ruled each of those counts will be tried separately, not together.

Bundick's next jury trial is set to be held in Virginia Beach in mid-July.