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Press Release

Antun Lewis Convicted Of Arson For Setting Fire That Killed Nine People

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

A federal jury found Antun Lewis guilty of setting the May 2005 fire that killed nine people in Cleveland, Ohio, said United States Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach announced today.

Lewis, 29, of Cleveland, is scheduled to be sentenced March 18, 2013. He was convicted of one count of arson in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.

“Justice took a longer time coming, but justice was delivered,” Dettelbach said. “This case came about because of the incredible work and cooperation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Cleveland Police and Fire Departments and the prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

“We hope this verdict brings some small measure of comfort to the families of the deceased,” Dettelbach said.

“This case highlights the fact that arson is a violent crime capable of destroying lives in addition to property,” said Michael Boxler, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Columbus Field Division. “The ATF agents and prosecutors in this case were unwavering in their dedication to the victims and their pursuit of justice.”

The arson at 1220 East 87th Street on May 21, 2005, killed eight children and one adult, making it the deadliest intentionally set fire in Cleveland’s history. It occurred during a children’s sleepover birthday party, according to trial testimony.

Killed were: Fakih Jones, age 7; Malee’ya Williams, age 12; Shauntavia Mitchell, age 12; Earnest Tate, Jr., age 13; Miles Golden Cockfield, age 13; Antwon Jackson, Jr., age 14; Moses Williams Jr., age 14; Devonte Carter, age 15, and Medeia Carter, 33.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David J. Sierleja, Robert W. Corts, Michael L. Collyer following an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the Cleveland Police Department and Cleveland Fire Department.

Updated March 12, 2015