Tucson man charged with setting woman on fire rejects plea offer

2013-02-07T11:54:00Z 2013-02-08T07:35:19Z Tucson man charged with setting woman on fire rejects plea offerKim Smith Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

A Tucson man accused of setting a woman on fire four years ago will be going to trial in June after turning down a plea agreement that would’ve given him a life sentence with release possible after 25 years.

If convicted in the death of Angela Hudson, Anthony Lewis, 55, could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release.

On Sept. 22, 2008, Hudson banged on her next-door neighbor's back door, naked and with her hair on fire. He shoved her into the shower and called 911.

Hudson, 44, told the neighbor Lewis "threw fire" on her. Police believe Hudson was home alone when Lewis got into her home and doused her with a flammable liquid before setting her on fire. She suffered burns to 35 percent of her upper body, including her face, shoulders and chest. She died five months later.

Lewis was caught a month after the incident in Bellingham, Wash., as he tried to cross into Canada, police said.

The Pima County Attorney’s Office had planned to seek the death penalty for Lewis, but after months of mental health evaluations, doctors determined Lewis’ intelligence quotient is in the lower range.

In the U.S., prosecutors can’t seek the death penalty for those whose intelligence quotient falls below a certain level, there is evidence they were intellectually disabled prior to turning 18 and they are incapable of performing day-to-day tasks that people with normal IQs can.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Deborah Bernini will preside over the trial.

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