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Courts and Crime

Cleveland arsonist sentenced
After a retrial and a second conviction the former drug dealer is headed to prison

Kevin Niedermier
Federal Court House, Cleveland
Courtesy of WKYC
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In The Region:

Following some very emotional testimony today (fri), the man who started Cleveland’s deadliest house fire was sentenced to 35-years in prison. Antun Lewis is convicted of killing a woman and eight children in a 2005 arson fire…..WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports on his sentencing…..    

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What they saw
Before Lewis’ sentencing in federal court, Cleveland fire fighter Patrick Magnan gave a graphic and tearful description of what he experienced after arriving at East 87th St.  He talked about the chaotic scene with a seemingly endless progression of dead and dying burned children being carried from the flaming house.  He says he can’t forget the sight, smell or even the taste on that night, and asked Judge Solomon Oliver to never let Lewis walk free.

Two of the victims’ family members also described the intense emotional pain Lewis’s actions have caused.                                                                                                    

Before being sentenced
Lewis said he was innocent, and that he is the victim of a mix of lies.  His attorneys wanted him to receive 20-years with credit for time served. He was first convicted in 2011, but that case was overturned by Judge Oliver because he felt some jailhouse informants the prosecution called as witnesses were unreliable. 

Last December
the small-time drug dealer was convicted a second time.  Earlier this month Lewis’ request for an acquittal and new trial was denied.  Prosecutors say he set the fire to settle a drug debt.              

Related WKSU Stories

Antun Lewis will be sentenced in deadly arson Tuesday
Thursday, June 5, 2014

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