Arson defendant ruled mentally competent

A defendant facing four counts of arson is competent to stand trial, a Warren County Circuit Court judge said Monday.

FRONT ROYAL – A defendant facing four counts of arson is competent to stand trial, a Warren County Circuit Court judge said Monday.

Judge Dennis L. Hupp declared Tanya Wyvonne Smoot, 45, of 341 Osage St., Front Royal, competent based on a mental health evaluator’s summary of an exam she received.

“She is competent to stand trial,” Hupp said. “That is the finding of the court.”

Smoot, who appeared in court with her attorney, assistant public defender Ryan Nuzzo, is being held in the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail.

Authorities have accused her of setting fire to her residence on April 10. She is also accused of setting fires at a neighboring residence at 339 Osage St. on Nov. 29, Jan. 25 and Jan. 27. The address at 339 Osage St. was unoccupied and maintained as a storage space at the time of the fires.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fires quickly during each incident. No injuries were reported in any of the incidents.

Nuzzo told Hupp that he had been informed of the results of the mental examination but had not had a chance to discuss it with his client. Nuzzo asked for an additional 30 days before further proceedings are conducted.

Hupp scheduled another court appearance Dec. 7.

Smoot received a mental health evaluation after her arrest at the scene of the last fire. She also underwent a court-ordered mental health evaluation in general district court.

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

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