Arson suspect held without bond

Rebecca Starr Melvin

A Front Royal woman accused of setting fire to a house and shed in town Saturday remains held in jail without bond.

Rebecca Starr Melvin appeared in Warren County General District Court on Tuesday where she stands charged with arson of an occupied dwelling owned by Beth Vaught and maliciously or with the intent to defraud an insurance company burn or destroy by the use of explosives an unoccupied shed valued at $500 or more.

Judge W. Dale Houff appointed William C. Olien to represent Melvin, 37, of 407 E. Prospect St. Houff ordered Melvin to remain held at Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail without bond. Houff scheduled Melvin’s next appearance for Nov. 6.

Officers with the Front Royal Police Department responded to a possible structure fire at 407 E. Prospect St. on Saturday. A criminal complaint filed in Melvin’s case states an officer arrived and saw both the residence and a detached shed on fire. The officer made contact with Melvin who, during a brief interview, admitted that she started the fires in the home and shed using gasoline, the complaint states. Melvin was the only person at the scene when officers arrived.

Police arrested Melvin and took her to the regional jail where a magistrate ordered her held without bail until she appears in court. A checklist for bail determination notes Melvin is self-employed and has lived in the area since 1997. Melvin has a husband and a daughter. The magistrate indicates that Melvin has two felony convictions.

Warren County real estate records indicate that Vaught Properties LLC owns the house at 407 E. Prospect St. It was valued at $149,000 as of the last reassessment.