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Cedar Rapids man pleads guilty to arson, animal abuse
A Cedar Rapids man pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that he intentionally set a fire in a house with 15 animals inside. All 15 animals were killed in the fire.
Jonathan Jay Ramey, 47, was arrested in October on a charge of second-degree arson and 15 charges of animal abuse. He had a jury trial scheduled to start next week, but he took a plea deal Thursday and pleaded guilty to the arson charge and one of the animal abuse charges.
Per the plea agreement, the other 14 animal abuse charges will be dropped at sentencing. The sentence for the arson charge — up to 10 years in prison — will run consecutive to the animal abuse charge — up to two years — for a total of 12 years. Ramey is scheduled to be sentenced April 11.
On Oct. 1, Ramey set fire in seven different places of the house where he lived, at 1730 11th St. NW, according to a criminal complaint.
Two smoke alarms had been removed from the building, and Ramey had texted the homeowner repeatedly stating that he would set fire to the home with the animals inside.
Fifteen animals were killed in the fire: four ducks, three rabbits, two geese, two dogs, two fish, a cat and a snake.
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