TRENTON — A physical altercation between a city resident, his sister, and his brother-in-law has come to light as the possible prelude to a Christmas morning arson that killed two people and displaced others.

According to an affidavit of probable cause released Monday by the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, the married sister and brother-in-law of Ronal Lima-Ordonez, also known as Ronal Ordonez-Lima, told investigators that he "got physical" with the sister at a party in Trenton, and was punched multiple times by the brother-in-law in defense of his wife.

Subsequently, just after 3 a.m. on Dec. 25, a man identified as Lima-Ordonez was seen on surveillance video lighting a cigarette or cigar and smoking it on the front porch of 221 Rusling Avenue, where the sister and brother-in-law said in their interview they had returned following the fight.

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The video showed the man suspected to be Lima-Ordonez walking back and forth between the front door and the porch steps for several minutes before flicking the cigar or cigarette onto the sidewalk, walking toward the door for a final 30 seconds, then departing in the direction of Division Street.

Almost instantaneously, the affidavit said, flames ignited near the door.

Four people were reported to have escaped from 221 Rusling, while occupants Dilman Canpos and Selvin Lima died. The fire also caused damage to several other homes on Rusling Avenue.

The affidavit said Selvin Lima had been at the party where the fight took place.

Lima-Ordonez's sister identified her brother on the video and confirmed that he is known to smoke cigarettes. He resides at an address on Division Street, according to the affidavit, which matches the direction he was observed walking from Rusling Avenue.

Ronal Ordonez-Lima
Ronal Ordonez-Lima (Mercer County Prosecutor's Office)

Detective Marc Masseroni of the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office said a Facebook search for the suspect yielded an account with the handle "ronal.lima.37" and vanity name "Lima Ronal (Léon)," with "Léon" having been confirmed to be a nickname for Lima-Ordonez.

Among the public pictures on this profile, Masseroni said, was an individual matching Lima-Ordonez's description wearing a white and black, collared, button-down shirt similar to one the suspect was wearing in the surveillance images.

As previously reported, Lima-Ordonez was charged with two counts of murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of attempted murder, one count of aggravated arson, and five counts of arson.

A detention hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, at which time the prosecutor's office told New Jersey 101.5 more details may become available.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

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