30 year old Terrance Hale is being held without bond
Hale made his first court appearance on Monday and then proclaimed his innocence during an interview with reporters.
Hale is charged with first degree murder, arson and burglary in connection with the fire near 31st and Ernst last Thursday. The fire killed Raymond Vasholz and critically injured his wife Elizabeth.
On Monday prosecutors said Hale broke into his neighbors house and demanded money. When they refused, Hale is accused of blocking the doors with furniture and setting the house on fire.
During his interview with reporters, Hale said he cut grass and shoveled snow for the Vasholz's and called them "friends." Hale says he saw smoke coming from the house and pulled Elizabeth Vasholz to safety.
He says he went back in to try and save Raymond and was pushed to the ground by an unknown person. Hale says he broke out a basement window and crawled to safety.
Hale says he has been studying to become a deacon in his church in north Omaha.