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Londonderry man plans to plead guilty to lighting fireworks fuse that destroyed three cars

Union Leader Correspondent

May 06. 2013 10:15PM

BRENTWOOD - A Londonderry man intends to plead guilty to arson charges for allegedly destroying three vehicles by lighting a 150-foot fireworks fuse inside the gas tank of a Ford Escape parked behind an apartment complex.

John Ramsey, 43, is facing three counts of arson for setting the fire on the night of Sept. 6 outside of a Charleston Avenue apartment complex. Ramsey is expected to enter his guilty plea on Wednesday in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Londonderry police were called to the building around midnight after several neighbors got into a dispute. Ramsey had told police earlier in the night that he was upset at a neighbor because he touched his girlfriend and her two daughters, according an affidavit by police Sgt. Kim Bernard.

"If you don't do something about him, I'm going to do something that will get me arrested," Ramsey allegedly told police.

Police took no action against the man Ramsey was upset with. Several neighbors were interviewed by police, but Ramsey was identified as a suspect because of his earlier comments to police, according to court documents.

He was questioned by police officers at the scene, but denied any role in setting the fire, Bernard said in the affidavit. Ramsey claimed he went to bed just before 3 a.m. and only heard about the vehicles catching on fire.

The Ford Escape was owned by the sister of the man he was feuding with, police said. The other two vehicles that were destroyed, a 2002 Ford Explorer and 2003 Honda Accord, were owned by other neighbors. Those vehicles caught fire because they were parked next to the Ford Escape that was allegedly targeted by Ramsey, according to court documents.

A neighbor later told police that he moonlighted as a pyrotechnics expert and had sold Ramsey a 150 foot fuse after Ramsey asked for one to light off fireworks, police said.

Statements Ramsey made while threatening a woman days later led to his arrest, court documents say. Ramsey was arrested by Raymond police on Sept. 10 for criminal threatening and violating a protective order taken out by his ex-girlfriend.

"Ramsey had confessed to her about the car fires and threatened to kill her," Bernard said in the affidavit.

Ramsey also threatened that "if she told anyone, he would cut her up into small pieces," according to police.

Corrections officers also handed over to Londonderry police recorded phone calls that Ramsey made to his ex-girlfriend while being held at the county jail. During at least one of the calls, he admitted to setting the fires.

Terms of his plea deal have not yet been made public.

Ramsey, who is being held at the county jail, faces up to 3½ to 7 years in state prison on the felony charges.

Crime, law and justice Londonderry

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