Charles Smith III, suspect in string of Va. arsons, pleads guilty to 68 counts

Charles Smith III
CBS affiliate WBOC

(CBS/AP) ACCOMAC, Va. - A former volunteer firefighter charged in a string of arsons on the Eastern Shore has pleaded guilty to 68 counts.

Media outlets report that 40-year-old Charles Smith III pleaded guilty Thursday in Accomack County Circuit Court to 67 counts of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson. He will be sentenced in December. According to CBS affiliate WBOC, he faces a maximum of 584 years in prison and $5 million in fines.

Smith and his fiancée, 39-year-old Tonya Bundick,were accused of setting fire to abandoned structures between November 2012 and April of this year. They were arrested April 2.

Bundick is charged with one count of arson and one count of conspiracy. In court documents, Smith told investigators he torched 52 unoccupied buildings, while Bundick set fire to 15.

On Thursday, Smith's attorney made note of his client's bi-polar disorder, which was diagnosed after his arrest. Carl Bundick said this is the first time in his life that his client is being properly treated for the condition, reports WBOC. He also reportedly said Smith is "extremely remorseful" for his actions.

Complete coverage of Charles Smith III on Crimesider