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Teenager Pleads Guilty to Second-Degree Murder After Setting Wrong House on Fire in Stolen iPhone Revenge Plot

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Tragic Consequences of a Misguided Act of Revenge

In a devastating turn of events, a teenager’s attempt to recover his stolen iPhone led to the deaths of five innocent family members in Denver, Colorado. Kevin Huy Bui, now 20, pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder on Friday for his role in the 2020 arson attack that claimed the lives of a Senegalese family, including two young children.

5 Key Points

  • Kevin Huy Bui, then 16, traced his stolen iPhone to the wrong home using the “Find my iPhone” app.
  • Bui, along with two teenage co-defendants, set fire to the house in an act of revenge.
  • The arson attack killed five family members, including two babies, and injured three others.
  • Bui’s co-defendants, Dillon Siebert and Gavin Seymour, also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges.
  • Under a plea deal, Bui faces up to 60 years in prison when he is sentenced this summer.

The incident occurred on August 5, 2020, when Bui, who was 16 years old, had his iPhone stolen. He used the “Find my iPhone” app to locate the device, which mistakenly led him to believe that his phone had pinged at a home in Denver’s Green Valley Ranch neighborhood. Seeking revenge, Bui, along with two teenage friends, Dillon Siebert and Gavin Seymour, devised a plan to set fire to the house where they thought the stolen phone was located.

Tragically, the trio had targeted the wrong home. The resulting arson attack claimed the lives of five Senegalese family members: Djibril Diol, 29; Adja Diol, 23, their 22-month-old daughter Khadija Diol; Hassan Diol, 25, and her 7-month-old daughter Hawa Beye. Three other occupants managed to escape the burning home, some suffering broken bones in the process.

Details of the Tragic Incident

On the day of the fire, a police officer patrolling the Green Valley Ranch neighborhood spotted the family’s home ablaze around 2:40 a.m. After alerting firefighters, the officer attempted to enter the home through the garage but was forced back by the intense heat and flames. He then rushed to the front door, where someone was unsuccessfully trying to unlock the door using the keypad. The officer kicked in the front door but was again unable to enter due to the extreme conditions inside the home.

Arriving fire crews managed to pull one victim from the area near the front door, while the bodies of the other four victims were later recovered from the front portion of the house. The Denver Police Department’s arrest warrant described the incident as “a coordinated attack,” with the suspects entering the home and using gasoline as an accelerant to set fire to the rear of the property before fleeing the scene.

Surveillance Footage and Social Media Evidence

Crucial evidence in the case came from surveillance video provided by a neighbor, which showed three masked suspects wearing dark hoodies outside the family’s home at 2:26 a.m. on the day of the fire. At least one suspect was seen holding what appeared to be a gasoline can. Detectives later obtained a search warrant and reviewed conversations between the trio on social media, uncovering messages that implicated them in the arson attack.

In one exchange on July 15, 2020, Bui told his friends that he had been robbed, and in another, he wrote, “They gonna get theirs.” Just days before the fatal fire, on August 1, 2020, Bui sent Seymour a chilling message on Snapchat: “#possiblyruinourfuturesandburnhishousedown.”

Co-Defendants’ Pleas and Sentences

Bui’s co-defendants, Dillon Siebert and Gavin Seymour, also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges for their involvement in the fatal arson. Siebert, who was 14 at the time of the crime, was sentenced to three years in a juvenile facility followed by seven years in a state prison. He remains incarcerated with an estimated parole release date of February 2029. Seymour, who was 16 during the incident, was sentenced to 40 years in prison and also remains behind bars, with an estimated parole release date of November 2050.

The Aftermath and Pending Sentencing

The devastating consequences of this misguided act of revenge have left a family shattered and a community in mourning. The senseless loss of five lives, including two young children, serves as a tragic reminder of the far-reaching impact of reckless and violent actions.

As the last of the trio to enter a plea, Kevin Huy Bui now faces the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence for his role in the quintuple homicide. Under the terms of his plea deal, he could be sentenced to up to 60 years behind bars. Bui, who remained incarcerated without bond in Denver’s downtown detention center as of Tuesday, is scheduled to be sentenced in Denver County District Court on July 2, 2023.

While the legal proceedings may bring some measure of closure to this harrowing case, the lives lost can never be replaced, and the scars left on the survivors and the community will likely endure for years to come. The tragic events surrounding the fatal arson serve as a somber reminder of the importance of making responsible choices and the devastating consequences that can follow when anger and revenge are allowed to dictate one’s actions.

 

Kevim Huy Bui FAQ

How old was Kevin Huy Bui when he committed the arson attack?

Bui was 16 years old at the time of the incident in 2020.

How many people died in the fire?

Five family members, including two babies, lost their lives in the arson attack.

What charges did Bui plead guilty to?

Bui pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder.

What sentence does Bui face under the plea deal?

Bui faces up to 60 years in prison when he is sentenced this summer.

How did Bui mistakenly identify the wrong house?

Bui used the “Find my iPhone” app to trace his stolen phone, which led him to the wrong home.

 

Citation:

Alund, N. N. (2023, April 11). He traced his stolen iPhone to the wrong home and set it on fire killing 5. Now, he faces prison. USA TODAY. 

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