Court: Retry Ohio man for sleepover fire, 9 deaths

AP News
Posted: Apr 16, 2013 3:50 PM

CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal appeals panel says a Cleveland man convicted in the arson deaths of a woman and eight children at a birthday sleepover should get a new trial.

The Tuesday decision from the 6th U.S. District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upholds a federal judge's 2012 order overturning the conviction of Antun (AN'-ton) Lewis.

U.S. District Court Judge Solomon Oliver said in granting Lewis a new trial that testimony of jailhouse informants was unreliable, often contradictory and "deeply troubling."

The 6th Circuit upheld Oliver's decision and noted what it described as his "superior position to evaluate the credibility of witnesses."

The government had challenged Oliver's decision and asked that Lewis' conviction be upheld.

Prosecutors say Lewis doused a home with gasoline and set it on fire. Lewis has said he knew the victims and would never harm a child.