By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The defense suggests the minimum sentence for an admitted hitman cooperating with authorities in a fatal 2004 firebombing may be less than it seems based on his plea deal. Witness Lamont Lewis has admitted to committing 11 murders, including the arson murders of a witness’s family, but the defense contends he is lying about others to help himself.

Lamont Lewis has testified that he set the fire with his cousin, Robert Merritt, on orders from his drug gang boss Kaboni Savage. It’s part of the deal and Lewis, who could have faced the death penalty, will be sentenced later to at least 40 years, up to life in prison.

During questioning by Merritt’s attorney, Wil Spade, Lewis has acknowledged he’s hoping to do less than 40. Spade has suggested the 36-year-old Lewis, who has already served over five years, could get time off for good behavior, and be released in just under 30 years.

Lewis told the jury he’d be the first to say he doesn’t deserve it but he wants to serve less time. And the prosecution has emphasized the ultimate sentence anywhere from 40 years to life, is up to the judge.

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