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Que. man accused in Ohio killings cheated on wife: police

A Quebec man accused of killing his family had a fight with his wife the night she died about an affair he was having with another woman, an Ohio court heard Tuesday.

A Quebec man accused of killing his family had a fight with his wife the night she died about an affair he was having with another woman, an Ohio court heard Tuesday.

Michel Veillette, a Quebec man accused of killing his wife and causing the death of his four children, enters an Ohio municipal court Wednesday. ((Malinda Hartong/Cincinnati Enquirer/Associated Press))

A local detective made the statement at a preliminary hearing for Michel Veillette, who is accused of stabbing his wife, Nadya Ferrari-Veillette, to death on Jan. 11 and then setting fire to their house in Mason, an upscale suburb of Cincinnati. Their four children all died from smoke inhalation as a result of the blaze.

Veillette, 34, allegedly told police in an interview that his wife attacked him with a frying pan and stabbed him in the stomach on the night of her death, apparently furious about a $2,000 credit card bill for jewelry that she said was proof of his infidelity.

The attack happened when Veillette said he was leaving and went upstairs to pack, according to testimony from Mason detective Jerome Deidesheimer. He said Veillette told police that his wife was stabbed in the struggle that followed her attack on him.  

Veillette, who was hospitalized for wounds he received on the night of the fire, is charged with aggravated murder, murder and aggravated arson.

Fire got too hot to save kids, suspect tells officer

Deidesheimer said Veillette told investigators he retrieved a gas can from the garage to light the house fire, but it quickly became too hot for him to save his children. The detective did not say why Veillette allegedly lit the fire.

Emergency workers discovered Veillette outside his burning home after he jumped out of a second-storey window, according to police. His 33-year-old wife, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was found inside with multiple stab wounds and a knife protruding from her chest.

Three of the couple's children — Marguerite, 8, Vincent, 4, and Mia, 3 — were rescued from the burning house, but died later in hospital. The fourth child, Mia's twin brother Jacob, was found dead inside.

Despite a request from Veillette's lawyer to dismiss the charges, Mason Municipal Court Judge Andrew Batsche decided Tuesday there was probable cause to support them and sent the case to a grand jury.

Case may qualify for death penalty

There, jury members are expected to decide if the case of the Montreal-raised man qualifies for the death penalty.

The judge ordered that Veillette, who did not enter a plea at the hearing, continue to be held without bond.

Veillette's court-appointed lawyer said after the hearing that police should have sought other explanations for the fire and suggested that their interview with Veillette while he was still in hospital may not have followed due process.

"He was in the hospital, he was chained to a bed, there was no attorney present and I'm sure that's going to be an issue as to what he said can be admissible in court or not," said Tim McKenna.

The prosecutor said the investigation is still ongoing but has included interviews with people in Canada.

With files from the Associated Press