BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — The sentencing hearing for Daniel Flint — the man facing 2020 arson and burglary charges in Bedford County — continued on Monday, as the court is still trying to determine what impact Flint’s autism has on his sentencing.
The 23-year-old is accused of setting fire to the old Bedford Middle School in January 2020, heavily damaging the building that many hoped would be a part of a multi-million dollar program for the town.
Flint was arrested in February 2020 and charged with burglary and arson.
Defense council is considering handling the case as a civil matter instead of a criminal case due to Flint’s mental condition, meaning he would need the assistance of a guardian.
Before he entered a guilty plea, Flint’s attorney requested a mental health evaluation.
In November 2021, he plead guilty to felony charges of arson for setting fire to the former school.
He was set to be sentenced last week, but his attorney argued that Flint’s autism made it difficult for him to understand the difference between right and wrong.
The testimony on Friday, April 22 led Judge James Updike to continue the hearing to a later date. Bedford County Commonwealth’s Attorney Wes Nance says this is a unique process that could take some time.
No one was hurt in that fire. However, the $17 million project was planned to be a major economic boost for the community.
In addition, the loss of the historic former Bedford High School — which became, years later, Bedford Middle School — was felt by entire the town. It’s one of only three remaining buildings that share a history with The Bedford Boys, Company A of the 29th Infantry Division.
Building & Code Official for the Town of Bedford, Gary McIver, told WFXR News, “The damage was severe. Initially, all the wood components were burned and heavily damaged and it collapsed inside, but the cleanup process really shed light on what was salvageable and most of the building was salvageable.”
The project is expected to be finished in about a year and a half.
County leaders plan to reinstall the cupola on Thursday, April 28.
Nance says Flint’s next hearing is June 21. He does not anticipate sentencing on that day either.