U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu announced Thursday a District man was found guilty of murdering a 4-year-girl in 2013.
Fifty-year-old Jerome C. Lewis rented out the first and second floors of his home in the 2600 block of 33rd Street in 2011. Lewis lived in the basement of the resident. The relationship between Lewis and his tenant-relatives became strained, as he was struggling financially in early 2013, according to court documents.
Lewis set fire to a mattress in the basement on February 17, 2013. The fire spread throughout the basement and to the first floor of the home. All of the occupants in the home were able to escape except for 4-year-old Samauri Michelle Jenkins who suffered smoke inhalation and burns. She was pronounced deceased in the hospital two days later.
Lewis was arrested on the day of the fire. He pleaded guilty Thursday second-degree murder, first-degree murder with aggravating circumstances and first-degree cruelty to children in a fire. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 26, 2018.