CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A jury in Cleveland has found Antun Lewis guilty of arson, nearly six years after the crime. He's the man accused of killing nine people in a house fire on E. 87th Street in May of 2005.
"We wanted justice for our family and right now I could kiss the sky, I'm so happy I could kiss the sky."
"Listening to the different things that were said in court...there wasn't a moment that I thought he was getting away with it. The evidence backed it up," Miles Golden.
Williams will not die for his crimes, even though prosecutors had planned to go for the death penalty.
The federal death penalty was first an option because the mother, 33-year-old Madeia Carter, rented the home through a federal Section 8 rent subsidy. U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. ruled in December that Lewis' low IQ and behavioral problems is reason enough to rule out capital punishment.
On the night of the deadly blaze, Medeia son, Moses Williams Jr., was having a sleep over for his birthday. While they were sleeping Lewis broke in and doused the first floor with gasoline and set the deadly fire.
In addition to Medeia and Moses, the dead included three of Moses' siblings: Fakih Jones Jr., 7 , Malee'ya Williams, 12, and Devonte Carter, 15; three of Moses' cousins: Shauntavia Mitchell, 12; Earnest Tate Jr.,13, and Antwon Jackson Jr., 14; and a friend, Miles Anthony Cockfield, 13.
It was and still is the deadliest fire in Cleveland history.
He could get life in prison.
"It's a sad day for everyone. Our family don't come back and then they lose a family member."
After Monday's verdict, Mayor Frank G. Jackson released this statement:
On behalf of the City of Cleveland, I would like to thank the U.S. Attorney, his staff, the County Prosecutor's Office, the Cleveland Division of Police and the Cleveland Division of Fire for their diligence in bringing this case to justice. While nothing can erase the grief caused by the tragedy so many years ago, today's verdict can allow healing to begin for the families and friends of the victims.
Sentencing has been set for May 10th at 11AM.
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