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Hearing held Monday for murder, arson suspect

The Ponsford-area man accused of setting the Dec. 29 house fire that led to the death of his girlfriend appeared in Becker County District Court Monday afternoon.

Charles James Jones, 48, has been charged with two counts of second degree murder and one count of first degree arson.

He allegedly started a fire at the home he shared with 35-year-old Sholanda Clark, while knowing that she was still inside. Clark’s remains were found inside the burned out building.

According to a report from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner, Clark died of asphyxiation by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Court records allege Jones told investigators that he started the fire while Clark sleeping on a couch.

Jones’s defense attorney, Andrew Berger, requested at Monday’s hearing that an omnibus hearing be set for eight weeks from now; the date was set for March 10.

The purpose of the omnibus hearing is to determine the admissibility of evidence, including testimony and evidence seized at the time of arrest.

Jones remains in custody at the Becker County Jail; his bail was set at $1 million with conditions, or $2 million without.

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