The Prosecution and a police report claim that a cigarette lighter was in Ron’s pocket, but there was no lighter found on him when he was required to change his clothing, to collect as evidence, in their presence that night. The lighter was never mentioned or noticed until the very end when they arrested Ron, after investigators had free access to his apartment while he was still detained outside.
Ron, a non-smoker, purchased the lighter earlier that week, anticipating using it to light a barbecue at Bountiful Pond the next day, May 20, and again on Memorial Day to celebrate three years of marriage. He previously purchased hot dogs in anticipation of the barbecue.
Many other Meadows residents also owned cigarette lighters. Smokers would regularly go outside to smoke, including late at night, and they would sometimes light up near the north stairwell’s 1-way exit where the fire occurred. Anyone with a lighter could have easily (accidentally) ignited the flammable liquid if they were present, yet Ron’s lighter “sealed the deal” to cause his formal charge and arrest by the officers, even though there is no evidence placing Ron (and his lighter) near the property around the time of the fire’s ignition.