Architect Pleads Not Guilty In LA Fireman's Death

Published February 16, 2012 1:18AM (EST)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The architect of a Hollywood Hills mansion where a ceiling collapsed and killed a firefighter who was trying to extinguish a blaze has pleaded not guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter.

Gerhard Albert Becker, 48, entered his plea Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

His bail was set at $2 million, and he was ordered to return to court March 1 for a preliminary hearing.

Authorities say the fire and the ceiling's collapse were caused by Becker's grossly negligent construction of the home. They say he put a fireplace on the third floor that was only meant for outside use.

Becker, who was also the home's owner and construction contractor, was arrested Saturday when he returned to the United States from Spain.

By Salon Staff

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