Court again overturns 41-year sentence in fireman's death

DETROIT (AP) - Nearly 10 years later, the sentence in a fatal arson that killed a Detroit firefighter still is unresolved.

The Michigan appeals court last week sent the case back to Wayne County court. When Mario Willis is sentenced for a third time, it will be handled by a different judge.

Willis twice was sentenced to at least 41 years in prison for a fire that killed Detroit firefighter Walt Harris in 2008. The appeals court said Judge Michael Callahan again failed to adequately explain why he exceeded the sentencing guidelines.

Willis was convicted of second-degree murder. He was accused of paying a handyman $20 to burn down an abandoned house. The roof collapsed on Harris while he was fighting the fire.

Willis has remained in prison during appeals.

Published: Wed, Feb 07, 2018

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