Woman faces murder, arson charges in fatal fire

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BAILEY — A Nash County woman faces murder and arson charges after deputies say she started a fire that killed a man in the home they shared.

Alayna Renee Sherrod, 32, is accused of setting fire to her mobile home at 7515 Strickland Road north of Bailey on Tuesday, Chief Deputy Brandon Medina of the Nash County Sheriff’s Office announced early Wednesday.

The blaze claimed the life of 59-year-old Marcellano Ponce-Gonzalez, who authorities identified after his body was found in a bedroom of the mobile home’s charred shell. First responders considered the fire suspicious and sheriff’s investigators obtained a search warrant to comb through the rubble.

Deputies haven’t described the relationship between the victim and suspect. Medina said a motive in the case has not been determined.

After presenting evidence to an assistant district attorney, investigators obtained arrest warrants charging Sherrod with first-degree murder and first-degree arson. She was jailed without bond pending her initial court appearance.

Nash County deputies investigated the arson and homicide with assistance from the N.C. Office of the State Fire Marshal. The Ferrells Fire Department and Nash County Emergency Services also responded to the scene.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the Nash County Sheriff’s Office at 252-459-4121.