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Oct 21, 2016 1:45 PM

Landlord acquitted of manslaughter in fire that killed 6 in New England

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine property owner has been acquitted of manslaughter in a 2014 building fire that killed six people.

Gregory Nisbet was found not guilty of the charges by a judge Friday. He was also acquitted of some lesser charges but convicted for not having adequate means of escape from third-floor rooms.

The case was widely watched in Maine, where no landlord has been successfully prosecuted for manslaughter because of poor building conditions.

The defense contended the state tried to hold Nisbet to a higher safety standard by classifying the home as a boarding house.

The Portland fire, blamed on improperly discarded smoking materials, started early Nov. 1, 2014, after a Halloween party.

Prosecutors said Nisbet's building lacked working smoke detectors, adequate exits and other safety measures.

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