Sentence OK’d in 2008 fire that killed Michigan firefighter

Michigan

DETROIT (AP) — After five trips to the Michigan appeals court, a prison sentence for a fire that killed a Detroit firefighter might be settled 13 years later.

The court on Thursday affirmed a 30-year sentence for Mario Willis, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2008 death of firefighter Walt Harris.

Willis was accused of paying a handyman $20 to burn down an abandoned house. The roof collapsed on Harris, killing him as he was fighting the fire.

Willis’ case has bounced for years between between Wayne County and higher courts. The trial judge initially was told that he had failed to adequately explain why he exceeded the guidelines in ordering a 41-year prison term.

The latest sentence by a different judge was within the guidelines, the appeals court said.

Willis has remained in prison during his appeals.

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