VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Bond was denied Tuesday for a man accused of deliberately starting a fire on his ex-girlfriend’s balcony that heavily damaged a Virginia Beach apartment building.
Kelly Bruce Halverson is charged with four counts of arson and one count of attempted arson in connection to the July 25 fire at the Pembroke Town Center Apartments.
The two-alarm fire resulted in damage to eight apartment units and led to 13 residents being displaced.
Virginia Beach Prosecutor Wendy Alexander said on Tuesday that Halverson’s ex-girlfriend was the intended target of the fire. An eyewitness told police that they watched Halverson start the fire on the balcony of his ex-girlfriend’s apartment around midnight.
It took Halverson two attempts to start the fire after he climbed up onto the balcony. He’d climbed up the balcony in the past to gain access into the apartment, Alexander said.
Halverson was not legally allowed to contact his ex-girlfriend at the time of the fire because she’d filed a protective order against him and a no-contact order had been issued on July 23. After the blaze began, Halverson allegedly used social media to contact the woman’s roommates and check on her because he said he’d heard her home was on fire, Alexander said.
His ex-girlfriend was granted a 2-year protective order against Halverson on behalf of herself and a 6-year-old child after the fire. 10 On Your Side obtained a copy of the protective order. Halverson’s ex-girlfriend said that in the past he’d assaulted her by pushing her, slapping her, and putting Nair in her shampoo, court documents show.
“When this is over, you have no idea the storm I will bring into your life… If I can’t have you no one can,” Halverson allegedly told his ex-girlfriend on July 20, according to the protective order.
Defense Attorney Happy O’Brien told a Virginia Beach judge that Halverson was working at Amplitude Karaoke and went to a bar on the night of the fire. He said he was concerned about the eyewitness being able to actually identify Halverson as the arsonist because the 31-year-old wasn’t arrested until five days after the fire.
Officials with the Virginia Beach Fire Department said last week that if convicted, Halverson could face between five years to life in prison because of the late hour of the alleged crime as well as the scope and size of the fire.