Court: Retry Ohio Man Convicted of Fatal Fire

A former drug dealer convicted in the arson deaths of a woman and eight children at a birthday sleepover should get a new trial because of contradictory and “deeply troubling” testimony from jailhouse informants at his trial, reports the Associated Press.

The decision from the 6th U.S. District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upholds a federal judge’s February 2012 order overturning the conviction of Antun Lewis, of Cleveland, and granting him a new trial.

In upholding federal Judge Solomon Oliver’s order, the 6th Circuit noted that the judge’s concerns over the trial testimony “call into question a large portion of the government’s proof” and the likelihood that Lewis set the May 21, 2005, Cleveland fire that killed 33-year-old Medeia Carter, four of her children and four other children attending a 14th-birthday sleepover.

Prosecutors were reviewing their options in light of the order but hadn’t decided what their next step would be, said Michael Tobin, a spokesman for the U.S.

attorney’s office in Cleveland. They could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision, allow the case against Lewis to drop or refile charges for a second trial.

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