CLEVELAND -- U.S. District Court Judge Solomon Oliver denied the defense motions for new trial and for acquittal for twice-convicted arsonist Antun Lewis, now 30, in the deadliest arson in Cleveland history.
Oliver has set the sentencing for Tuesday (June 10)
Lewis was twice convicted in the arson deaths of Medeia Carter, 33,: four of her children and four other youngsters attending a birthday sleepover party on May 21, 2005.
Attorneys for Lewis asked Oliver to throw out the second conviction as unfair because of widespread media coverage of the crime over the years. Lewis was convicted for a second time in December.
The defense said jurors were biased by publicity in the years since the 2005 fire.
"They found Antun Lewis guilty based on the heinousness of the offense itself and pure speculative evidence," the defense said.
"Given the pretrial publicity and heinousness of the crime, the jury could not presume Mr. Lewis innocent," the defense continued.