DA: Asheville man convicted in 2016 arson; says he was spying on - FOX Carolina 21

DA: Asheville man convicted in 2016 arson; says he was spying on his wife

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Ascencion Ramirez Jr.(Source: PCSO) Ascencion Ramirez Jr.(Source: PCSO)
TRYON, NC (FOX Carolina) -

An Asheville man was convicted on several charges Tuesday after evidence suggests he set a house on fire while spying on his wife last year, per the district attorney.

District Attorney Greg Newman says, a Polk County jury deliberated for approximately two hours before convicting Ascencion Ramirez of second degree arson, domestic criminal trespass and carrying a concealed weapon.

Ramirez was sentenced to 30 months in prison on the arson charge and 36 months’ probation on the trespass and weapon charges.

Per evidence presented by district attorneys, a fire was started in at least two locations within a home on Hugh Champion Road in September 2016. Heavy fire damage was sustained to the upstairs floor of the home. The cause was immediately identified as suspicious for arson, they said.

Deputies learned that Ramirez, the estranged husband to Judy Ramirez, was present when firefighters initially arrived on scene. Official say he was under domestic order to remain away from the home.

Ramirez had initially told authorities he had not been inside the home, but he had a kitchen knife in his possession that came from the kitchen, investigators said. He then admitted to spying on his wife because he had hoped to find her with a boyfriend, the attorneys said. He then changed his story to say he was checking on the pets.

Several hours earlier, deputies say they received a call about a domestic dispute between Ramirez and his wife.

Newman said the evidence presented linked Ramirez to starting the fire.

“The physical evidence obtained by sheriff’s deputies and arson specialists from Buncombe County confirmed that the fire was intentionally started,” said District Attorney Newman.  “There was strong circumstantial evidence that Ramirez was the person who started the fire.  He had access, motive and his stories to law enforcement continued to change.  I very much appreciate the investigatory work by the Polk County Sheriff.  Arson cases are difficult to prove, but their attention to detail provided the proof for us to go forward on this case and I believe justice was achieved.  There was significant property damage, but no injuries or loss of life.”    

Related coverage: Deputies: Asheville man charged with setting fire to home, indecent liberties with child

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