PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A 31-year-old man accused of helping another man murder one woman and imprison several others pleaded innocent Wednesday to the crimes.

And the attorney for Cyril ''Tony'' Brown said it was probable that charges would be dropped against his client in exchange for his testimony against Gary Heidnik.

Brown is accused of helping Heidnik kill Sandra Lindsay, 24, and holding five other women prisoners in Heidnik's house.

Defense attorney Norris E. Gelman and Assistant District Attorney Charles Gallagher declined to elaborate on their negotiations.

''He is cooperating with us up to this point and the investigation is continuing,'' Gallagher said.

A mildly retarded, slight man who has been found competent to stand trial, Brown has been described by his attorney as ''fitting the pattern of Heidnik's victims - he's poor, retarded and black.''

Judge Edward J. Blake scheduled a status hearing Sept. 18 in the Court of Common Pleas.

Upon his arrest, Brown denied killing anyone, police said. But he said he saw Ms. Lindsay die in chains in Heidnik's basement and watched him allegedly dismember the body in the bathtub.

Heidnik, who faces a possible death penalty, is being held without bail in the Philadelphia County Prison Detention Center.