PITTSBURGH — A judge has ruled that a man accused of setting and bragging about a Pittsburgh house fire that killed a 4-year-old girl and two women last month must stand trial on multiple counts of arson and homicide.
The ruling came Friday after an attorney for 41-year-old Martell Smith argued that prosecutors had no direct evidence linking Smith to the scene.
Authorities say Smith was involved in a bar fight with a man who also lived at the home. They say a witness overheard Smith muttering “yep, yep, I did it,” while crews battled the blaze Dec. 20.
Smith maintains his innocence.
Sandra Carter Douglas, 58; Shamira Staten, 21, and her daughter, Chy’enne Manning, died in the fire. Douglas’ husband escaped by jumping from a second-story roof but broke his ankle.