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Hearing set for man charged with arson

A Southwest District Judge set bond for a Dickinson man accused of arson as personal recognizance during his initial court hearing Wednesday. As long as Jeremy Ross, 26, complies with conditions set by the court, such as appearing at hearings, he will not need to post a cash bond.

Ross' 2007 Cadillac Escalade reportedly started on fire Jan. 4. Ross was charged in July for allegedly starting or maintaining the fire with intent to collect insurance money for the loss of the vehicle, according to a Stark County criminal complaint.

Rhonda Ehlis, Stark County assistant state's attorney, recommended Ross be granted a personal recognizance bond at the hearing.

"I realize it's a felony case, but he is in the community and we do not have any indication that he is a flight risk or that he is any threat to the community," Ehlis said.

Ross faces up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the charge.

He was reportedly not arrested for the charge and has not served any time in jail for the incident.

Kelly Armstrong, Ross's attorney, said he does not believe Ross collected any insurance money after the fire.

However Armstrong said he has not had a chance to review evidence regarding the case.

"It's just so early in the process," Armstrong said. "The information will all come through in a reasonable manner and we'll deal with it at that point."

In January, Ross said the vehicle fire may have been caused by electrical problems.

"Jeremy intends to fight this throughout the whole process and he maintains that it was an accident," Armstrong said Wednesday.

It is unclear what caused the fire.

"There's definite opinion as to how it started," said Jim Hope, Stark County assistant state's attorney.

However Hope, who is prosecuting the case, would not say what those opinions are.