Family of Nelson Co. Arson Victim Speaks Out Over Arrest - WSET.com - ABC13

Family of Nelson Co. Arson Victim Speaks Out Over Arrest

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Lovingston, VA - Rumblings of possible arson cases linked to one person in Nelson County may be true after all according to investigators.

A special grand jury indicted Linda Blackwell of Lovingston on several charges, including arson, obtaining money by false pretense, and felony murder.

The man investigators say died from the fire Blackwell started in 2009 is James Shelton Senior, a 61 year old grandfather who left behind a grieving family.

Now, some closure for them. The victim's son, James Shelton Jr., says he's convinced police have the person they've been looking for in connection to multiple fires one of which claimed the life of his father.

"This is my dad that died. He burned, he was burnt so bad that you could see the bone in his chest, in his shoulders" said Shelton.

An August 2009 fire engulfed the home James Shelton Senior was staying in. He held on for two days, before his son says he finally let go.

"He died a horrific death. I mean I couldn't imagine the pain he was in" he said.

"When I got the call, it was like you almost just melted right in the chair, I almost broke into tears" said Shelton.

That call was from investigators on Tuesday, telling him that Linda Blackwell had been arrested and charged with arson, and felony murder. That last charge for his father's death.

When that fire broke out, Shelton was staying with Linda Blackwell and her husband David. They were friends.

Blackwell told authorities she woke up to a fire in the kitchen and managed to escape. Her husband was burned on 60% of his body, attempting to rescue his friend burning inside.

Shelton's son tells us his suspicions peaked when he discovered Linda Blackwell was a beneficiary in his father's life insurance policy.

We went to the Blackwell's property. David Blackwell would not go on camera, only telling us he'd release a statement after speaking with his attorney.

As for the family that Shelton left behind, "The actions that she took bothered the family and myself a lot" said Shelton.

They still search for the answer to that ultimate question, "Why? Now, hopefully, we'll get some answers, some closure" he said.

Blackwell is accused of setting at least three homes on fire. She's charged with arson, obtaining money by false pretenses, and felony murder.

She's being held in the Albemarle County jail, without bond.

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