Suspect in fatal Toledo fire pleads not guilty

2 firefighters were killed in apartment complex blaze Jan. 26

Ray Abou-Arab appears in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, today.
Ray Abou-Arab appears in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, today.

An Oregon man charged with setting a deadly North Toledo fire pleaded not guilty today to the 13 charges against him in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Ray Abou-Arab, 61, of 1311 Sierra Dr., was arraigned before Judge Frederick McDonald, who scheduled a pretrial hearing in the case for March 20.

The judge also issued a gag order in the case, saying attorneys on both sides were not to make any statements about the case outside the courtroom.

Mr. Abou-Arab is charged with two counts of aggravated murder, each with death penalty specifications; two counts of murder; eight counts of aggravated arson, and one count of tampering with evidence stemming from the Jan. 26 fire at 528 Magnolia St. that killed Pvts. Stephen Machcinski, 42, and James Dickman, 31. The fire left three other Toledo firefighters injured and displaced the occupants of the building.

At today's hearing, the courtroom again had a large contingency of firefighters sitting on one side of the gallery. Supporters of Mr. Abou-Arab sat on the other side.

Mr. Abou-Arab is being held in the Lucas County jail on $5.85 million bond.