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Competing snitches in 9 Ohio arson deaths retrial

Retrial in 9 Ohio arson deaths adds another jailhouse informant _ making it competing snitches By The Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) ' Another jailhouse informant will be added to the mix if a federal court retrial goes forward in the arson deaths of nine in Cleveland, creating a snitch versus snitch scenario for skeptical jurors.

The government appealed last week's decision giving 28-year-old Antun Lewis a new trial in the 2005 fire.

A judge threw out the conviction, citing unreliable jailhouse snitches. Now the defense says it has its own cellblock informant who claims Lewis was framed.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Lazarus says the informant came forward on his own and, unlike prosecution informants, can't expect lenient treatment.

Federal prosecutors won't discuss trial strategy.

Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will, president of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, says jailhouse snitches must be carefully checked and, if possible, corroborated. He's unconnected to the case.

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Related Keywords:Sleepover Fire,Fires,Arson,Accidents and disasters,General news,Crime


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