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Man who sought revenge for a stolen phone pleads guilty to fire that killed a Senegalese family of 5

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DENVER — A Colorado man pleaded guilty to murder charges on Friday for starting a 2020 house fire that killed five members of a Senegalese family out of misplaced revenge for a stolen iPhone that he mistakenly tracked to the house.


Kevin Bui, now 20, was a teenager at the time of the fire but prosecuted as an adult. He has been portrayed by prosecutors as the ringleader of three friends who started the Aug. 5, 2020, fire in the middle of the night in a Denver neighborhood. Bui wrongly believed people who had recently robbed him lived in the home after using an app to track his stolen iPhone to the general area, according to prior testimony in the case.


Bui pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder. A plea deal reached between the defendant and prosecutors proposes a sentence of up to 60 years in prison — 30 years for each count. The maximum penalty for each count of second-degree murder is 48 years and a $1 million fine.


Judge Karen Brody set sentencing for July 2.