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Man charged in 3 arsons: 'We didn’t know him at all'

A 25-year-old Prince George County man arrested for allegedly setting a Chesterfield home on fire was also charged in two other arson cases.
Posted at 11:48 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-22 08:54:33-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A 25-year-old Prince George County man arrested for allegedly setting a Chesterfield home on fire was also charged in two other arson cases.

David Elton Starke is charged with arson and breaking and entering with the intent to commit arson, according to a Chesterfield Fire and EMS spokesperson.

The family spoke for the first time Friday since the fire and hearing what was the cause.

“I was just kind of shocked. It was kind of, everything just froze," said Ashley Dorton, who's parents lived in the house. “I didn’t sleep for days, and just massive anxiety over it.”

Dorton even said, they didn’t know who Starke was.

"We didn’t know him at all. We didn’t know anything about him," said Dorton. "I didn’t even know his name until we got the call the other day.”

Starke was also accused of setting fires to two other places in Prince George during June of 2019 as well. He plead guilty to those charges.

"It kind of put a little more scariness in my life to know that there’s people out there that do those things," said Dorton.

Dorton said the home was a total loss and they ended up tearing it down several weeks ago. Before that, she and her dad had one final walk through.

"He built this house. He designed it and built it," said Dorton. "And to watch that everything, everything, you didn’t even know that there was a picture on the wall gone, the couches burnt up, like there’s nothing left.”

As she looks ahead while helping her parents get back on their feet, she’s grateful things weren’t worse.

"In a weird way, this has brought us closer than ever, to really help each other grow from this and you learn materials can’t be replaced," Dorton said.

Starke is scheduled to be sentenced in those cases in in March.

Starke remains behind bars at Riverside Regional Jail pending a court appearance.