SUNBURY — Misty Dunbar is back in jail and facing 20-years in prison after being convicted of attempted homicide for starting a fire at an occupied home in Mount Carmel in 2019.
Dunbar, 26, of Elizabethville, was also remanded back to Northumberland County Jail on Tuesday after President Judge Charles Saylor revoked her bail and set a new bail at $350,000 cash.
Dunbar showed no emotion after the jury, which took 90 minutes to reach a verdict, told Sayor they found her guilty on all 13 charges related to the August 2019 incident.
After sheriff deputies surrounded Dunbar to take her into custody she began to cry and asked to hug her mother.
“Don’t worry mom, god knows the truth,” she said as she was being led out of the courthouse.
Days before the trial began, Dunbar started to use the social media platform TikTok where she told her 1,000 followers she was ready for trial.
On Tuesday, despite a video confession by Dunbar admitting to burning down the Mount Carmel home, she took the stand and said she was innocent of the charges.
Dunbar testified on her own behalf Tuesday afternoon and appeared confused by Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz’s questions on why she told police she burned down a Mount Carmel home in August 2019. Dunbar continued to say she is innocent.
“Is this a debate or a case?” Dunbar asked Matulewicz while on the witness stand. “May I step down?”
“I get to ask you the questions and you answer them,” Matulewicz said to Dunbar’s request. "And no."
Matulewicz asked Dunbar to be clear in her cross examination that Mount Carmel police and several other witnesses were all lying to the Northumberland County jury.
“When you continue to say no to questions you just start to answer,” she said. “When you are under the influence of drugs you say things you don’t know.”
Dunbar was accused by Mount Carmel Police of intentionally setting the blaze out of anger toward Kelly Witmer, an occupant of 434 N. Walnut St.
Dunbar and Michelle Rhoads, 24, of Mount Carmel, were both arrested for the crime the day after a fire destroyed the residence and badly damaged an adjoining property on Aug. 13, 2019.
Rhoads pleaded guilty on Aug. 7, 2020, to a felony count of aggravated arson with another person present inside the property and was sentenced by Judge Paige Rosini to 30 to 60 months in state prison with 377 days of credit and ordered her to pay a $100 fine, plus court costs and fees, and $95,257.85 in restitution.
“Justice was served in Northumberland County,” Matulewicz said after the trial. “ Mount Carmel police and officer Justin Stelma had this case wrapped up in 36 hours and this case had a tremendous amount of evidence to present to the jury. They did such a great job.”
Matulewicz continued to question Dunbar on the stand and showed her a video of two women walking near the fire seconds before it was started.
“Who is this?” Matulewicz asked Dunbar. Dunbar responded, “I don’t know.”
Dunbar told the jury she lied to police because she was questioned for several hours.
“How would you like it if you were interrogated for four hours?” Dunbar asked Matulewicz.
After Dunbar was done testifying, Matuewicz recalled Stelma and asked him to verify a video confession.
In the video, 22 minutes after the interview began, Dunbar is seen and heard admitting to police she started the fire.
After the jury delivered the verdict, Matulewicz asked Saylor to revoke Dunbar’s bail. Dunbar had been one of the inmates released during COVID-19 in an attempt to reduce the prison population. Dunbar’s attorney, public defender John Broda, declined comment after the trial but asked Saylor to let Dunbar remain free until she is sentenced.
Saylor listened but said the charges are serious and the jury delivered a guilty verdict so he was going to set bail at $350,000 cash.
The jury also heard testimony from Angela Koreisl, of Mount Carmel, who said Dunbar had lived with her for a short time.
“She came home after the fire and she was laughing,” Koreisl said. “She (Dunbar) said I did a life-changing thing.”
Koreisl also testified she told Dunbar that there were kids in the home to which Dunbar replied, “So what, it’s karma.”
The entire incident stemmed from Witmer asking Dunbar to move out of her house as the former roommates were not getting along, testimony showed.
Dunbar will now be sentenced within 90 days.