UPDATE: Conviction for Tavern Arson Overturned

UPDATED March, 26, 2013 --- 9:45 a.m.

FITCHBURG, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin man imprisoned for an arson conviction is enjoying life at home with his family.

Joseph Awe walked out of the Oregon Correctional Center in Fitchburg Monday after a judge overturned his conviction and ordered his release. The 42-year-old Friendship man spent nearly three years behind bars and has worked for six years to clear his name.

Awe was convicted in 2007 of party to arson with intent to defraud in the September 2006 fire that destroyed his bar, J.J.'s Pub, in Harrisville.

Marquette County Judge Richard Wright granted Awe a new trial, noting the state never determined how the fire started and that "there was no direct evidence of the defendant's guilt."

The State Journal says the State Fire Marshal's Office is consulting with Marquette County district attorney about a possible appeal.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press

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Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 --- 11:00 a.m.

MONTELLO, Wis. (AP) -- A man imprisoned for setting fire to his Marquette County tavern has filed a new appeal.

Joseph Awe is serving a three-year term for setting fire to JJ's Pub in Harrisville in 2006.

In his appeal motion, Awe says investigators misread clues and used faulty logic to wrongly conclude he set the fire. Awe argues his trial attorney should have called witnesses who would have supported his testimony that he was home in Friendship when the fire broke out.

The State Journal (http://bit.ly/Nd6uCr ) reports the motion also includes information from Florida fire investigator John Lentini who reviewed the case and concluded the fire likely started in the heavily-burned circuit box of the 130-year-old bar which had a history of electrical problems. Awe's previous attempts to appeal his conviction have failed.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


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