Cleveland man convicted in birthday sleepover fire that killed 9 to appeal verdict, sentence

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CLEVELAND — The man twice convicted of setting a fire that killed a woman and eight children at a birthday sleepover in Cleveland plans to appeal his federal arson conviction and sentence.

A judge sentenced Antun Lewis to 35 years in prison last month after emotional statements by a firefighter and relatives of the victims about the 2005 fire.

An attorney for the 30-year-old Lewis filed a notice of appeal Monday.

Federal Judge Solomon Oliver said before sentencing the case was the toughest he's heard in 20 years on the bench. Oliver dismissed the first jury verdict because of doubts about jailhouse snitches used by prosecutors. He allowed the second jury verdict to stand despite the government's use of the same witnesses.

Lewis' attorney could not be immediately reached.

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