Victim remains in critical condition, bond set at $2 million for man accused of attempting to set girlfriend on fire

Published 9:40 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2024

ROWAN COUNTY — The man accused of stabbing his girlfriend before dousing her in gasoline and setting her on fire appeared in court on Wednesday and had his bond set at $2 million.

James Joseph Gunnerson, 49, appeared before Judge Marshal Bickett, who heard the case as presented by both sides. Gunnerson was given a $2 million secured bond by Bickett after originally being held without bond, according to a release from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

The same release stated that the victim of the alleged assault remains in the hospital “in critical condition and is still unable to communicate with investigators.”

Gunnerson was charged after deputies were called to a report of potential arson at a home in the 1200 block of Chez Charolais Road at approximately 12:55 a.m. on Friday. There, they found Gunnerson in the backyard threatening firefighters and tased him multiple times before taking him into custody, according to a prior release from the sheriff’s office.

Detectives reportedly discovered that Gunnerson got into a domestic argument with his girlfriend, which resulted in him allegedly stabbing her with a knife. After he stabbed the victim, Gunnerson allegedly doused her and the home in motor fuel and lit it on fire.

The victim was able to escape the fire and make it to the neighbor’s house, where she asked for help, according to the previous release. She suffered serious injuries and burns and was airlifted to Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist hospital.

Gunnerson has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and first-degree arson.