Ohio DRC, Associated Press
FILE-This undated photo released by the Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction shows Antun Lewis. Federal Judge Solomon Oliver in Ohio has granted a new trial for Antun Lewis, convicted in a 2005 house fire that killed nine, including eight children at sleepover. Oliver ruled Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012 that the conviction of 28-year-old Lewis in the Cleveland fire was based on unreliable witnesses.

CLEVELAND — A federal judge in Ohio has granted a new trial for a man convicted in a 2005 house fire that killed nine people, including eight children at a birthday sleepover.

Judge Solomon Oliver ruled Wednesday that the conviction of 28-year-old Antun Lewis in the Cleveland fire was based on unreliable witnesses.

At the same time, the judge said he did not find that Lewis didn't commit the crime. He says a new trial will provide an incentive to answer unresolved questions.

A spokesman says local U.S. attorney's office had no immediate comment. A defense attorney didn't immediately return a message Wednesday.

Lewis has said he knew the victims and wouldn't harm a child.

The fire killed 33-year-old Medeia Carter, four of her children and four other youngsters.