Attorney: NIOSH report will have little to no effect on case against Ray Abou-Arab

Attorney: NIOSH report little to no effect on case against Ray Abou-Arab

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - A federal report on the fire that killed two Toledo Firefighters, Privates Stephen Machcinski and Jamie Dickman, outlines several factors it says contributed to their deaths last January.

According to Attorney Jerome Phillips, the report will have little to no impact on the criminal case against Ray Abou-Arab, accused of setting the fire. But, he says it will give the defense a little more to work with in the courtroom.

“The charge is causing the death of another, you don't, because there's some intervening cause or some additional cause doesn't remove the liability of the defendant in a particular case,” said Phillips.

The intervening causes laid out in the report include everything from arson to not getting water on the fire quick enough to staffing issues. However, Phillips says although the report does not change things, the defense may still use those facts to their advantage.

“I think you would argue it if you were a defendant in this case saying, ‘well jeez, it really wasn't our fault, if fact you can prove that we started the fire, there's other intervening causes that may have contributed to the unfortunate death of these firemen,'” said Phillips.

But, he says the state will argue that those other causes are not a legal defense.

“The state would argue, ‘but for the arson, none of the other events would have made any difference,'” said Phillips.

Phillips says the report does add some concern as far as how this actually happened, but he does not believe it will make a significant difference in the criminal trial.

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