As prosecutors and defense attorneys continue to argue over the destruction of an investigator’s report on the Magnolia Street fire that killed two firefighters, at least one legal tangle for accused arsonist Ray Abou-Arab was eliminated Thursday.
At the request of prosecutors, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Stacy Cook dismissed unrelated charges alleging Mr. Abou-Arab, 62, of Oregon sold synthetic marijuana last year.
In the far more serious case, 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 for the Jan. 26, 2014, fire that killed Toledo Fire Pvts. Stephen Machcinski, 42, and James Dickman, 31.
His attorneys contend they have been unable to see a report that purportedly stated the fire began in the kitchen area of one of the apartments, a theory that would tend to point toward their client’s innocence, because that report was destroyed by investigators.
Fire Investigator Dale Pelz and police Detective Deb Hahn testified at an earlier hearing that they had seen the report by then-Fire Investigator Glenn Frames but they had dismissed the theory of the fire starting in a kitchen because it was contrary to evidence at the scene.