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‘I’m Not Happy for the 10 Years’: Colorado Teen Accused of Setting Fire to the Wrong Home Over Stolen iPhone, Killing 5 Black People, Sentenced to Prison; Two Others Await Trial

A Colorado teen who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder will spend the next 10 years in prison for his role in setting a Senegalese family’s home on fire after mistakenly targeting it in a revenge scheme over a stolen iPhone.

Amadou Beye was at the courthouse on Feb. 1, still visibly struggling with the loss of his wife and infant daughter, who died in the fire.

“My life doesn’t make sense anymore,” Beye told The Associated Press after the sentencing hearing.

Dillon Siebert, 17, pleaded guilty to his murder charge in December 2022 after accepting a plea deal with prosecutors, The Associated Press reports. Siebert, alongside Kevin Bui, 18, and Gavin Seymour, 18, were all charged in connection to the house fire in a Denver, Colorado suburb. Bui and Seymour’s cases are still pending, and they are facing first-degree murder, attempted murder, arson, and burglary charges.

The fire took the lives of Beye’s wife, Hassan Diol, 25, and their infant daughter, Hawa, as well as Hassan’s brother Djibril Diol, 29, his wife Adja Diol, 23, and their daughter Khadija Diol, 2.

“We can’t be the same anymore, we’re just not normal anymore, they destroyed our lives,” Beye said to the press after the sentencing.

Five Senegalese immigrants died in a house fire set in August 2020 when teenagers mistakenly set the wrong home ablaze over an alleged stolen iPhone. (Photo: Facebook/Mame Fama Gueye)

“Being in court isn’t easy, it’s always reminding you how they died. My daughter in the middle of the fire with no help. I can’t feel good, I can’t feel fine,” Beye said.

The deceased were found on the first floor of the home. Two adults and a child living at the house managed to survive the fire by jumping out of a second-story window, according to police.

The fire occurred on Aug. 5, 2020, when Bui, Seymour, and Siebert, the youngest of the three at 14, on that day, wanted to get revenge against the people they believed stole Bui’s cellphone in a robbery.

Police say the accused teens used an app to track the phone and Google searches to pinpoint the home of the Senegalese family of immigrants, but they targeted the wrong home. Seymour told police they didn’t have a clear plan for their intended revenge. The teens’ lawyers said in court, “the fire was allegedly set in the middle of the night when people would likely be at home and sleeping with evidence of an accelerant to quickly spread it,” The Associated Press reported.

It took police six months to make an arrest causing the Senegalese community to fear it was a targeted attack based on race. In October 2020, Denverite reported police looked into whether the fire was racially motivated. Other Senegalese immigrants said at the time, “We might become a target too,” Mamadou Dia told Denverite.

Police say the teens told investigators they did not know who lived in the home and only learned the identities of the Senegalese immigrant victims after the fire.

Police used the teens’ Google search history and Snapchat location data to pin the teens to the location of the crime which led to their arrests in January 2021.

Kevin Bui (left) and Gavin Seymour (right) were charged in connection with setting a house fire killing five Senegalese immigrants in Denver. (Photo: Denver D.A.)

Amadou Beye told The Associated Press “he thinks about killing himself every day and needs medication to sleep.”

At the sentencing hearing for Siebert, he wore a short that read “Why my wife? Why my daughter?”

“They didn’t just kill five people they killed an entire community, they killed me,” Beye told KCNC.

Beye filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Aug. 8, 2022, against Siebert, Bui and Seymour, their parents and the owner of the home the Senegalese family was living in at the time of the fire.

KDVR reports the lawsuit that seeks an unspecified amount in damages alleges “negligence of the suspects.” The teens’ parents are accused of “failing to supervise their children and allowing them to participate in activities” causing the fire deaths. The owner of the home, Amadou Sow, is accused of “failing to maintain a reasonably safe environment” for occupants living in the house. Sow and his wife and daughter were living in the home at the time of the fire and escaped by jumping from a second-story window.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann told KCNC, “this horrific incident inflicted irreparable harm to these two beautiful families, terrorized Denver’s Senegalese community and devastated the broader community.”

McCann went on the justify the 10-year sentence for Siebert.

“We believe this disposition is appropriate given Mr. Siebert’s age and his limited role in planning and executing this horrible act,” McCann said.

Not all members of Beye’s family agree with the 10-year prison sentence.

“I’m not happy for the 10 years,” Ousman Ba, a friend of Beye’s family told reporters.

“Imagine if this was a white family what would have happened and three Black boys did it, would they value our life,” Ba said.

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