Grass Valley man found guilty of recklessly causing fire |

Grass Valley man found guilty of recklessly causing fire

A jury on Thursday found a Grass Valley man not guilty of arson during a state of emergency, but instead guilty of a lesser charge of recklessly causing a fire, after he was charged with breaking into a downtown home and setting fires outside.

The jury was hung on a charge of first-degree burglary, said Deputy Public Defender Micah Pierce.

Juan Carlos Hurtado-Ramirez, 34, was arrested by Grass Valley police officers on April 28 after the tenant of a residence in the 300 block of Columbia Avenue called 911 just after 6:30 a.m.

The victim told responding officers a man broke a window to the house, entered and was chased out. He then found a fire burning in the yard, opting to put it out rather than continue to pursue the suspect, Sgt. Clint Bates said at the time.

Officers located Hurtado-Ramirez, who appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance. The suspect admitted to starting two separate fires, breaking a window and stealing property, including clothing, Bates said.

Hurtado-Ramirez will return to Nevada County Superior Court on Jan. 29, Pierce said. According to Deputy District Attorney Casey Ayer, her office will take the week to determine whether to retry the case on the burglary charge.

Hurtado-Ramirez remained in custody Friday on a $250,000 bond, court records state.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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