FRONT ROYAL – A woman accused of setting fire to a neighbor’s home can face trial on an arson charge, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Fontella Louzie Fewell appeared in Warren County General District Court for a review of the findings in a competency evaluation. Fewell, 74, of 529 E. Main St., Apt. 11, Front Royal, stands charged with arson of an occupied dwelling owned by Clayton Estes Sr., on April 23.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Layton appeared for the prosecutor’s office. Dan O’Brian, with the Public Defender’s Office, represented Fewell.
Attorneys told Judge Richard Claybrook Jr. that Fewell had been found competent to stand trial. Claybrook Jr. set a preliminary hearing on the charge for Sept. 4. Claybrook ordered her to remain held without bond. Fewell is being held at Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail.
Investigators with the Front Royal Police Department Investigations Division and the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office interviewed Fewell on April 23, according to a criminal complaint dated April 26. They conducted the interview as a result of a “suspicious fire” that occurred the same date at 602 E. Stonewall Drive.
“During the interview Ms. Fewell admitted that she was angry at the homeowner (Clayton Estes Sr.) and intentionally set his home on fire using matches and cigarettes,” the complaint states.
Judge W. Dale Houff entered an order June 4 that Fewell undergo evaluations for her sanity at the time of the offense and her competency to stand trial and aid in her own defense. The evaluation filed in the General District Court is sealed.