Still no trial set for man accused of setting fatal fire that killed two Toledo firefighters

Still no trial set for man accused of setting fatal fire that killed two Toledo firefighters

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Tuesday marks the two year anniversary of the day Stephen Machcinski and Jamie Dickman went into a fire at an apartment building and didn't make it out alive.

Abou-Arab was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated murder less than a week later.

Though those were the original charges, Abou-Arab was indicted by a Lucas County Grand Jury on 13 charges. Eight counts of aggravated arson and one count of tampering with evidence are now included.

Abou-Arab had his first court appearance at Lucas County Common Pleas back on Feb. 11, 2014. Since that day, countless pretrial hearings have been held, and the case has been handed off from retiring Judge Frederick McDonald to the Honorable Stacy Cook, who will see the case through to the conclusion of the trial.

On Monday, two long awaited witnesses were called to the stand by Abou-Arab's attorneys. Agent Dennis Bennett and retired Special Agent Michael Cherry, both with the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco. They testified about their involvement in the fatal fire investigation.

The defense is trying to prove that original information inputted into the report system, called BATS or Bomb Arson Tracking System, was deleted and not included in the final arson report. The original information may be favorable to the defense's case because it mentions the fire could have starting in the kitchen and not in the garage, like the final report reads.

The agents were questioned how information is updated in BATS and if information can be deleted. Both Cherry and Bennett testified that they were not experts with BATS, but to their knowledge they could log in and modify information they originally inputted, however, they could not make changes or delete someone else's entries into the system and report.

The Honorable Stacy Cook set another pretrial hearing for March 1. The Defense would like some time to review transcribed testimony of the past witnesses called. Ray Abou-Arab agreed to sign another time waiver, waving his rights to a speedy trial.

If found guilty Abou-Arab could face the death penalty.

Follow WTOL:  

Download our app here

Copyright 2016 WTOL. All rights reserved.