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Arson Charged In Riverdale Fire

A former South Boston woman, Rachel Elizabeth “Beth” Ellington Wilson, 37, of Jefferson Drive, Chatham, has been charged with felony arson of an occupied building, according to Virginia State Police First Sgt. L.D. Bishop. Following an investigation by the Virginia State Police, the Halifax County Grand Jury handed down an indictment on Jan. 11 alleging Wilson “…did unlawfully, feloniously, and maliciously burn or destroy by explosive substance, the occupied dwelling of Donald Lee Ellington…”

Firefighters were called to Wilson’s former residence at 1015 Brooks Drive in the Riverdale community the afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 11, for a reported house fire.

Upon arrival the firefighters found heavy smoke throughout the house and fire in what had been the laundry room, a South Boston Fire Department spokesman said.

The fire spread to the roof area of the house shortly after firefighters arrived. South Boston and Cluster Springs firefighters battled the blaze for approximately three and a half hours.

The fire on Oct. 11 was the second at that address in less than two months. A fire department spokesman said firefighters had extinguished a fire at the same home on Aug. 14.

Virginia State Police Special Agent G. J. Hack served the warrant on Wilson the morning of Jan. 13. Wilson turned herself in that day and cooperated with law enforcement officials, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Freshour. She appeared before the magistrate that day and was ordered held without bond until her bond hearing the following day.

As a result of her bond hearing in Halifax County Circuit Court on Jan. 14, she was released on $20,000 secured bond contingent upon her good behavior and that she have no contact with Donald Ellington. Wilson also was placed on pre-trial supervision with Halifax/Pittsylvania Court Services and ordered to meet with court services officials at least once a week.
No trial date has been set as of this time.