Second mental exam ordered for arson defendant

Tanya Smoot

FRONT ROYAL – A woman indicted on four counts of arson will undergo a second mental health evaluation to determine whether she was sane at the time she committed the alleged offenses and whether she can assist in her defense.

Circuit Judge Ronald Napier ordered the evaluation for Tanya Wyvonne Smoot, 45, of 341 Osage St., Front Royal, at the request of her attorneys.

Authorities have accused Smoot of setting four fires on Nov. 29, Jan. 25, Jan. 27 and April 10. Three of the fires were at 339 Osage St. and one was at Smoot’s residence.

No one was injured in any of the fires, all of which were quickly extinguished by firefighters.

General District Court Judge W. Dale Houff ordered a psychologist to conduct a mental health evaluation of Smoot in June.

“The initial evaluation said she was competent to stand trial,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Madden said of Smoot.

The second evaluation will be performed by another psychologist, Phillip Pate.

“It is unusual, I would say that,” Madden said of the order for the second evaluation. “But the judge reviewed the initial report and made the determination to have the second evaluation.”

The first report, written by clinical psychologist David Rawls, was based on an interview he conducted with Smoot at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail where Smoot is being held without bond.

“Overall, she exhibited solid intellectual abilities,” Rawls wrote of Smoot.  The report states that Smoot recalled a harsh childhood.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com