MEDFORD, Ore. -- A judge on Tuesday entered not guilty pleas for a Southern Oregon man charged with murdering his wife and four young children last summer and setting fire to their house.
Jordan Criado, 51, appeared by video from jail in Jackson County Circuit Court in Medford.
He is accused of stabbing his wife, 30-year-old Tabasha Paige-Criado, and two of the children, and setting multiple fires in the small single-story house in Medford last July. Family and friends have said Paige-Criado, a student at the local community college, wanted a divorce.
A registered sex offender in California, Criado has been held without bail on 24 counts of aggravated murder, which carries a potential death penalty, as well as felony murder, manslaughter and arson charges.
The many counts of aggravated murder are based on different theories of the crime. Twenty of them refer to multiple victims. Four are based on victims under the age of 14 -- Elijah, 7; Isaac, 6, Andrew, 5, and Aurora, 2. The felony murder counts are related to four counts of arson.
Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Mejia set a March 5 deadline for the defense to decide whether it will pursue a defense of not guilty by reason of insanity. March 5 will also be the date by which Mejia must set a trial date.
Active in social networking, Paige-Criado made it clear on Facebook that she loved her children and no longer wanted to be with her husband.
She met her husband at community college in Bakersfield, Calif., and married him despite knowing he had been convicted of molesting three girls in Sacramento County, Calif., family members have said. They said he moved his family to Oregon to get away from his wife's family, who disapproved of him.
Criado was pulled from the burning house with his wife and children. Firefighters worked to revive them on the front lawn, but only Criado survived. He spent nearly three weeks unconscious in a hospital after suffering smoke inhalation. He was eventually released to police, who immediately arrested him. He has remained in jail without bail.
An autopsy listed the cause of death for Paige-Criado as stab wounds to the neck and abdomen. The children all died of smoke inhalation, with stab wounds to the neck listed as an additional cause for Isaac and Andrew.