Several charges dropped against accused arsonist

LOUISA, VA (WWBT) - Several charges are dropped against a woman accused of starting multiple fires in Louisa County.

Felicia Armstrong, 51, appeared in court Tuesday morning. She told the judge that she didn't commit any crime. Then she waived her rights to a preliminary hearing.

In court, Armstrong was emotional and animated. She cried multiple times. She put her hands on her heart and whispered the words "I love you" to someone in the courtroom.

Armstrong is accused of burning down a neighbor's shed, setting fire to a neighbor's wood pile, breaking into Saint John Baptist Church in Mineral and setting three small fires in the basement of the church.

A member of the church, who's also Armstrong's neighbor, showed up in court to support Armstrong. He asked we not reveal his identity.

"I think they should drop the charges and get her some help - that's what she needs," he said.

Several of the arson charges against Armstrong were withdrawn but they can be brought back  by prosecutors at a later date.

Charges involving the church were certified to a grand jury. The fires were set back in January. Three month later, signs of the fire still exist. There are multiple burn marks on the church floor. Crews are working to repair the damage.

Armstrong was not a member of the church. Police say her motives are unclear. How she allegedly, started the church fire remains a mystery.

"The fire was set intentionally, but exactly what started it or what was used to start it --we've not found the cause of that," said Lt. Mike Schlemmer, a fire investigator.

A friend of the accused arsonist says that Armstrong was having severe nightmares shortly before those fires were sparked.

"She's a lovely person, well mannered, she always had a smile on her face --  she was a happy person. Then she had a stroke and a heart attack and she's been going down hill ever since and she seems sad all of the time now," said the unidentified man.

Armstrong underwent a mental evaluation and a judge ruled that she's competent.

Armstrong's next court date is scheduled for May 2nd. She's being held at Central Virginia Regional Jail.

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