Woonsocket Call

Fatal fire defendant to receive new trial

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BOSTON (AP) — A ruling granting a new trial to a man who spent more than three decades in prison after he was convicted of starting a 1982 fire in Lowell that killed eight people, including five children.

A Middlesex Superior Court judge overturned Victor Rosario's murder and arson conviction­s in 2014. The judge cited developmen­ts in fire science investigat­ion and questions about whether Rosario's confession was voluntary.

Prosecutor­s appealed that decision. In its ruling Thursday, the state Supreme Judicial Court agreed with the lower court judge, finding "a confluence of factors combined to create a substantia­l risk of a miscarriag­e of justice."

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan must decide whether to re-try Rosario. A spokeswoma­n said Ryan is reviewing the ruling and will make a determinat­ion.

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