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Freed man will not be retried for arson

Published On: Apr 30 2013 05:35:49 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 30 2013 05:35:57 PM CDT
Joe Awe
MADISON, Wis. -

An Adams County man set free after a judge overturned an arson conviction will not face a new trial.

Joe Awe, 42, had spent nearly three years in prison after a jury convicted him of setting the Marquette County pub he owned on fire to collect insurance money. Awe has always maintained he didn't do it.

He confirmed to News 3 he will not be retried.

Before Marquette County Circuit Court Judge Richard Wright's decision in March, Awe was going to be released in May but still faced nine years of probation. Wright granted him complete freedom by throwing out his conviction.

The state Department of Justice disagreed with Wright's decision.

Awe said he's looking forward to everything going back to normal.

In his decision, Wright said state fire experts improperly relied on a discredited method of analyzing the fire's origins. None of the state's experts could find the fire's cause, Wright said.

"There is no direct evidence of the defendant's guilt," Wright said in the decision.

Awe said he would like to see the state investigate the insurance company involved in the case.

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