DENVER (KDVR) — The youngest suspect involved in a deadly arson case that killed a family of five in Green Valley Ranch in 2020 was sentenced Wednesday.
Dillon Siebert, now 17 years old, will spend at least seven years in jail as an adult. He was also sentenced separately in juvenile court to serve three years in the Division of Youth Services.
Siebert, 14 at the time of the fire, was initially charged in juvenile court with first-degree murder among 47 counts.
Online court records show Siebert, whose name was not previously released because his case was in juvenile court, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in December after his case was transferred to regular court.
What happened on Aug. 5, 2020
The fire began just before 3 a.m. at 5312 N. Truckee St. on Aug. 5, 2020. The victims were all members of a Senegalese family: 29-year-old Djibril Diol and 23-year-old Adja Diol, along with their 2-year-old daughter, Khadija; and 25-year-old Hassan Diol and her 6-month-old daughter, Hawa Baye.
Three other people — a man, woman and child — jumped from the second story of the burning home and survived.
Kids set wrong house on fire
The teenage suspects were trying to retaliate after they were ripped off and then allegedly set the wrong house on fire, sources told FOX31 in February of 2021.
Detective Neil Baker, the lead detective in the case, testified that Kevin Bui interviewed with police the day he was arrested and admitted to planning and executing the homicide arson with Gavin Seymour. The two were both 16 years old at the time of the incident.
According to Baker, Bui told police he was robbed in July 2020 while attempting to buy a gun in the City Park area. Bui told Baker his iPhone, shoes and other belongings were stolen in the robbery and when he tried to track his phone, it pinged at the address of the home they set on fire.
Bui admitted to setting the fire, only to find out the next day through news coverage that the victims were not the people who robbed him, Baker said.
Bui and Seymour were charged as adults with a total of 60 counts split between several charges that included first-degree murder with extreme indifference, attempted murder with extreme indifference, burglary and assault with a deadly weapon.
Reactions at sentencing
“We wanted more, 10 years? For five people it’s not enough. We want to make sure we have peace of mind,” family friend Ousman Ba said.
Family member Amadou Deye was in the courtroom, and quickly reacted when he heard the sentence was expected to be 10 years total.
“Being in court is not easy. It’s reminding you how they died. How my daughter was in the middle of the flames with no help. My wife. That’s why I can’t feel good in that situation,” Deye said fighting back tears.
Siebert’s attorney said the teen “fell through the cracks,” was “bullied,” and had “speech delays” and “learning challenges.”
The teen’s attorney added that he went along with the two main players.
The victims were part of a tightly-knit Senegalese community. They told the court, the sentence would have been much different had Black kids killed a white family.
The victims’ family said they will keep seeking justice and demand harsh sentences for the two others charged in the case.
“They took me all I had. They broke my life. They didn’t kill just five people, they killed an entire community,” Deye said.
Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom. The court denied our request for a mugshot saying it is currently suppressed.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.