Trial Date Set In Ramona Arson, Murder Trial
James Kurtenbach Accused In Arson, Death Of Employee
Last Updated: 1234 days ago
A Sept. 13 trial date was confirmed Friday for a former Ramona filling station owner accused of having his Mount Woodson home burned down by an employee who died in the fire.James Kurtenbach, 49, allegedly persuaded 24-year-old Joseph Nesheiwat to start the blaze, which sparked an explosion at the nearly 3,500-square-foot home on Oct. 31, 2008.Firefighters found Nesheiwat dead outside the home, with burns over 85 percent of his body and blast injuries.Witnesses said the force of the blast was so strong that debris was found in a nearby street. The house was gutted by flames, leaving only outside walls standing.Kurtenbach was charged with murder a short time later. He also faces charges of conspiracy to commit arson with the intent to defraud, tax evasion, failure to withhold payroll taxes and failure to obtain workers' compensation insurance.Prosecutors allege the defendant owed about $3 million in back taxes on the Star gas station that he owned at the time of the fire. He twice tried to sell the house, which he rented to other people, but it failed to sell either time.Kurtenbach, who was freed on bond following his arrest, faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted of murder, plus 18 additional years if found guilty of the other charges.El Cajon Judge Herbert Exarhos will hear pretrial motions on Sept. 3.