A man who has spent 42 years in prison for a Tucson hotel fire that killed 29 people is expected to be released Tuesday as part of an agreement with prosecutors.
The Arizona Daily Star reports that Louis Taylor is scheduled to plead no contest in an agreement that sets aside his original conviction and gives him credit for time already served.
The Dec. 20, 1970 fire at the Pioneer International Hotel came when the hotel was packed with holiday shoppers from Mexico and attendees at a Christmas party for employees of an aircraft company.
The building didn't have a sprinkler system and some people trapped in the hotel had jumped from windows to their deaths to escape the heat. Others burned to death in their rooms, while most died of carbon-monoxide poisoning while waiting for rescue.
Taylor was arrested at the scene after working with rescuers trying to save people from the burning building. He was accused of starting the fire with lighter fluid or another incendiary liquid.
Twenty-eight people died that day, and Taylor was convicted of second-degree murder in their deaths and sentenced to life in prison. A 29th person died later of injuries suffered in the fire.
The hotel never reopened, but the 11-story building was eventually renovated and converted to office space. It is on the northeast corner of Stone Avenue and Pennington Street downtown.