Arson suspect in firefighter deaths due back in court next month

Arson suspect in firefighter deaths due back in court next month

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - The man accused of starting the fire that killed Toledo firefighters Jamie Dickman and Steve Machcinski last January on Magnolia Street in north Toledo was in court on Tuesday.

Ray Abou-Arab faces aggravated murder and arson charges in the case. Attorneys and the judge discussed pretrial motions in court on Tuesday and another pretrial hearing was scheduled for Feb. 19.

Toledo firefighters and the families of both Dickman and Machcinski packed the courtroom for the hearing. Several firefighters were even escorted to another floor to watch the proceedings on closed circuit TV because there was not enough space in the courtroom. Ray Abou Arab sat with his attorneys while several motions were discussed.  Right now the judge needs to review more than 20 requests from both sides involving evidence in the case and what the jury can or cannot see once the trial begins.

Abou Arab's Attorney Peter Rost says one contested item includes a portion of the apartment building.

"The wall is a significant piece of evidence that was removed from the site of the fire with somebody's permission. It certainly wasn't with the defenses consent," said Rost.

The defense team is asking the state to return the wall to the site of the fire and pay for it to be transported.  The judge has not made a ruling on the matter just yet.

Both sides are currently waiting on the motion to suppress. The defense wants portions of the interrogation footage thrown out as well as surveillance video from the convenience store attached to the apartment. The judge is expected to make his decision on the motion by Friday.

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