Man Who Set House Fire That Killed 4-Year-Old Girl Ordered to Pay $200,000

A man convicted of intentionally starting a house fire that killed a 4-year-old girl was ordered to pay $204,503 to the victim's estate.

Jerome C. Lewis, 51, of Washington, D.C., was found guilty in October of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and first-degree cruelty to children for starting the fire that killed 4-year-old Samauri Jenkins in 2013. He was sentenced to 32 years in prison.

Lewis lived in the basement of a home he owned at 2616 33rd Street SE, prosecutors said. He rented the first and second floors to relatives.

In early 2013, his relationship with his tenants was strained, prosecutors said, and he was having a financial crisis.

Lewis set fire to his mattress in the basement of the home about 3 a.m. Feb. 17, 2013, and the fire spread to the first floor, prosecutors said. Everyone but Samauri got out of the home.

Firefighters rescued the girl, but she suffered burns and smoke inhalation and died two days later.

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