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Denver man gets five life sentences for fatal stabbings and arson during botched robbery

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A 25-year-old man convicted of stabbing five people to death in a Denver bar during a botched 2012 robbery and then setting fire to the building was sentenced on Wednesday to five consecutive life sentences, prosecutors said.

Dexter Lewis was found guilty last month of multiple counts of first-degree murder along with robbery and arson charges stemming from the October 2012 killings, the Denver District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

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Lewis was spared the death sentence sought by prosecutors after jurors failed to unanimously agree that he should be executed. Under Colorado law, that meant he received five mandatory life sentences with no possibility of parole.

Police said Lewis and two co-defendants, brothers Lynell and Joseph Hill, went to Fero’s Bar and Grill, robbed its owner and four patrons, slashed the victims to death and set the bar ablaze to cover up the crimes.

The robbery netted them $170, prosecutors said.

The victims’ bodies were discovered by Denver firefighters who responded to the blaze.

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The Hill brothers earlier pleaded guilty to the murders, and in exchange prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty for them if they testified against Lewis.

Joseph Hill did testify for the prosecution and was sentenced to 70 years in prison, but his brother reneged on his agreement to testify and was sentenced to life with no parole.

It was the second recent high-profile murder trial in Colorado where jurors spared the life of a mass killer. In August, a suburban Denver jury declined to impose a death sentence for James Holmes after finding him guilty of murdering a dozen moviegoers, also in 2012.

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Colorado has executed just one death-row inmate in nearly 50 years, although in 1997 a federal jury sentenced convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh to death after his trial was moved to Denver.

McVeigh was executed in 2001 at the federal government’s death chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana.

At a hearing on Wednesday, Denver District Court Judge John Madden described the Fero’s slayings as “among the most gruesome in Colorado history.” He gave Lewis five life sentences plus the maximum 180 years for the arson and robbery charges.

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Investigators arrested Lewis and his accomplices after an informant, who was at the scene but was not charged, provided police with details of the crime.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Mohammad Zargham)


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Trump announces toughest sanctions ‘ever’ on Iran

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President Donald Trump on Friday announced new sanctions on Iran's central bank, calling the measures the toughest ever imposed on another country by the United States.

"We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

"These are the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country," he said.

The Trump administration has vowed a response after US officials blamed Iran for weekend blasts on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which caused a sharp hike in global crude prices.

The United States already maintains sweeping sanctions on Iran including on its central bank, with anyone who deals with it subject to prosecution.

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Trump uncorks bizarre rant on ‘clean coal’ in Oval Office: ‘When you talk minerals, it’s about digging’

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President Donald Trump on Friday uncorked a strange and nonsensical rant about the virtues of so-called "clean coal" during an Oval Office conversation with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

When asked about the importance of Australia's mineral industry, the president praised the country for doing so much to extract resources in what he described in an environmentally friendly way.

"Coal, as an example, you're the leader of safety in coal digging and we've actually studied it," the president said. "We're doing a lot of coal. You have very little -- you have almost no -- used to have a thing, black lung disease, and in Australia you almost don't have it anymore, you've got all of the dust down."

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The View explodes in confusion after Meghan McCain makes Trump’s Ukraine debacle all about herself

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Meghan McCain managed to place herself at the center of a debate about a whistleblower complaint filed against President Donald Trump.

"The View" grappled with reports that Trump dangled U.S. military aid to Ukraine in exchange for damaging information against Joe Biden, and co-host Abby Huntsman agreed that was an impeachable offense -- but expressed doubts about the accuracy.

"This is a blown-up story and we have no facts, there's no gray area," Huntsman said. "It's black and white, and that would give Trump all the more ammunition if this isn't even true to say, this is what the media does."

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