- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southern Illinois man has been found guilty in the 2008 shooting death of a New Baden man, whose body was hidden in a vacant house that was set afire.

Lortez D. Thomas of Washington Park was found guilty Wednesday in the death of 47-year-old Eric Mollet. However, the St. Clair County jury acquitted Thomas of raping two female witnesses.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports (https://bit.ly/1i5uBmj) defense attorney Erin Conner says Thomas continues to maintain his innocence.

Prosecutors say Mollet was shot to death in Thomas‘ home after becoming involved in a fight with Thomas and two other men.

Murder charges in Mollet’s death have also been filed against 37-year-old Jason Cowley of Collinsville, who allegedly assisted the 35-year-old Thomas in Mollet’s slaying.

Thomas is scheduled for sentencing on July 3.

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Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, https://www.bnd.com

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