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Suspects arraigned in fatal arson
Both plead not guilty to charges

Two suspects indicted last month in connection with a fatal arson at a south Forsyth home have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Jill Smith, 34, and Peter Delaney, 37, have been indicted on one count each of murder, felony murder and first-degree arson.

They were arraigned Thursday morning before Forsyth County Superior Court Judge David L. Dickinson.

Smith's husband, Michael Smith, was killed in the Oct. 22 blaze.

Authorities have said Jill Smith and Delaney were having an affair. Delaney and both of the Smiths were inside the house at the time of the fire, as was Jill Smith's son.

Jill Smith and Delaney have each been denied two requests for bond.

During a March 3 hearing, Smith's attorney sought medical care because she is reportedly more than four months pregnant.

Delaney's attorney, Rafe Banks, maintained his client's innocence Thursday.

"There will be no plea deal," Banks said. "He's not guilty and the state's investigators have said they don't have any evidence that he did anything."

Authorities have said Michael Smith was trapped in an upstairs bathroom of his home at 5540 Kennemore Drive off Union Hill Road and suffered severe burns all over his body.

During a probable cause hearing in February, Forsyth County Fire Lt. Debbie Lindstrom testified that the fire had been set, though she didn't know by which suspect.

Lindstrom also said burn holes in the floor of an upstairs bedroom indicated an accelerant had been used.

The medical examiner's office ruled the death a homicide as the result of thermal burns and smoke and soot inhalation, she said.

Lindstrom testified that Jill Smith may have been motivated by the affair and money.

In December 2009, she had become the sole beneficiary of her husband's $250,000 life insurance policy, Lindstrom said.