Cleared: Jurors Find Suspected Arsonist Not Guilty of Sparking W. 83rd Blast

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Jurors reached a verdict in the trial of a suspected arsonist late Friday and found William Calderwood not guilty of tampering with a gas line in the basement of a home on West 83rd Street in February, causing a massive explosion.

However, he was found guilty of burglary.

Jurors spoke out following the reading of the verdict.

"The state did not meet it's burden of proof in this particular case," said Neal Benedict, juror. And juror Steve McJunkins agreed, "There was not enough evidence presented to us to find the defendant guilty."

"I think the jury wants to see who's the person inside the house unscrewing the gas line and we can't actually show that," said Robert Botnick, Asst. County prosecutor.

"They tried to paint my guy as doing this for insurance purposes and filing lawsuits against Dominion and that was just not the case," said Calderwood's attorney Patrick Lenighan.

The blast rocked the city's Westside and caused damage to 72 homes in the area. Four people sustained injuries, but have since recovered.

Calderwood, who is currently on probation in Michigan, is already a convicted arsonist. That fact was something the jury was never told.

In 1979, he was sent to prison for burning a house and then in 2004, he pleaded to burning another house and insurance fraud. Calderwood was sentenced to just probation.

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