For Immediate Release
Antun Lewis Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Setting Cleveland's Deadliest House Fire
A Cleveland man was sentenced to 35 years in prison for setting the May 2005 fire that killed nine people, said United States Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach.
Antun Lewis, 30, of Cleveland, was convicted by a jury in December on one count of arson in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.
“This defendant is responsible for taking nine innocent lives. A coward in the night, he also stole the hopes and dreams of these families, who will never get to experience high school graduations, weddings, or the other things they had a right to enjoy. Nothing can ever erase the pain this defendant caused, and our hearts go to them all. Their grace and dignity in the face of this tragedy is humbling.”
“This sentence brings some closure to a horrific and senseless crime,” said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Michael Boxler. “It is my hope that this sentencing will bring some comfort to the families of the victims. I also want to compliment the United States Attorney’s Office for their leadership in the prosecution of this difficult case, and I want to thank the Cleveland Fire Department, the Cleveland Division of Police, the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the ATF personnel who worked jointly to perfect this investigation.”
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 was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David A. Sierleja, Robert F. Corts and 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.