Testimony begins in murder trial against Ray Abou Arab

Testimony begins in murder trial against Ray Abou Arab
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Three years and numerous motions after an apartment fire killed two Toledo firefighters, testimony finally began Monday in the trial against the man accused of setting that fire.

Ray Abou Arab is charged with the murders of firefighters Jamie Dickman and Stephen Machinski.

The first witness to take the stand was Ali Abdu, the man who purchased the Huron Market from Abou Arab.

Abdu testified he saw Abou Arab coming to the market the day of the fire.

A video was presented to the jury which, according to Abdu's testimony, shows Abou Arab entering the garage of the building, walking around the building before coming into the store.

"I heard the garage door go up, which was not out of the ordinary because they stored things in there for the store," Abdu testified. "And then it went down and that's when I saw the flames on the ceiling."

Once in the store, the video appeared to show Abou Arab smelling a pair of gloves. The video also appears to show him throwing away those gloves in the trash after leaving the garage.

The prosecution implied the gloves had gasoline on them after starting the fire.

The defense countered if Abou Arab smelled like gasoline when he entered the store. Abdu testified he did not smell any gasoline or kerosene.

In all, five witnesses took the stand Monday, including residents who lost everything in the fire.

Three other witnesses testified they did not smell gasoline on Abou Arab the day of the fire.

The single witness who did testify she smelled gasoline on Abou Arab was resident Tracy Bishop. However, the defense pointed out there were times where Bishop's story showed inconsistencies.

The witnesses all knew Abou Arab personally and did not have anything negative to say about him personally. Many of the witnesses did say Abou Arab was not acting suspicious and said he had no grudges against firefighters.

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