Jerome Lewis Ordered Held in Fire that Killed Four-Year-Old Samauri Jenkins

Jerome Calvary Lewis was ordered held Saturday on suspicion of causing a fatal fire that killed a 4-year-old child.

Lewis, 46, is suspected of second-degree murder in connection with the case.

According to charging documents, firefighters found the child, Samauri Jenkins, unconscious in a second floor bedroom in the home on Feb. 17. Fire authorities believe that the fire spread from a basement apartment upward. The D.C. Fire Department is still determining the cause of the fire.

Charging documents say that a police officer was working across the street from the home and saw smoke. The officer went to investigate what was going on. When he arrived, Lewis, 46, was standing at the back of the house wearing an orange shirt, according to charging documents.

The officer heard someone say to Lewis, “You set the house on fire.” Lewis responded by threatening to kill him, the documents state.

Six others were in the building, including a 2-year-old child, investigators say.

Another witness told a police that Lewis lived in the home’s basement.

Lewis told police he was smoking a cigarette at the time of the fire and had not slept for two days. He said that his mattress started burning and he threw it outside, where it erupted in flames.

Other witnesses said Lewis had earlier made comments about destroying the building and hearing screaming and crashing sounds coming from the basement the day before the blaze.

Lewis is scheduled to appear before Judge John Ramsey Johnson March 15 at 10:30 a.m. for a preliminary hearing.

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