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Teen charged in arson that killed 5 family members headed to trial

A challenge over a key piece of evidence by a co-defendant could also impact Kevin Bui's prosecution for the fire that killed five family members.

DENVER — One of three teens charged in a fire that killed five members of a family just over two years ago pleaded not guilty Thursday and is set to go to trial in December.

Kevin Bui is charged in relation to the Aug. 5, 2020, fire in the 5300 block of North Truckee Street in Denver that killed five members of a Senegalese family.

RELATED: Wrongful death lawsuit filed in fatal arson that killed 5 family members at Denver home

The victims included 29-year-old Djibril Diol and 23-year-old Adja Diol, as well as their 2-year-old daughter Khadija. Djibril’s sister Hassan Diol, 25, and her infant daughter, Hawa Beye, also lost their lives. Two adults and a child escaped by jumping out a window, according to police. 

RELATED: 'We cannot believe an entire family would be gone in a matter of minutes': Community mourns 5 killed in Denver fire

Judge Martin Egelhoff previously ruled that the cases against Bui and Gavin Seymour should proceed in adult court. Both were 16 years old at the time of the fire. The third teen, who was 15 at the time of the fire, is charged in juvenile court. Seymour is next due in court for a hearing on Aug. 19. During that hearing Egelhoff will hear arguments about a request to toss out key evidence in the case.

The issue revolves around a November 2020 search warrant the Denver Police Department (DPD) issued to Google, seeking data on anyone who searched for the address of the home prior to the fire in August of that year. Attorneys for Seymour said up until that search warrant, police had no suspects in the deadly arson case.

RELATED: Deadly Green Valley Ranch arson case leads to legal fight over Google search results

Seymour's attorneys argue the search violated his Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search. The decision in that case would also have implications in the Bui case which is currently set for jury selection to begin on Dec. 9 of this year.

According to prior court testimony, the suspects "specifically targeted" the occupants or residents of 5312 N. Truckee St. for "revenge and retribution," allegedly in response to the robbery of a cellphone.

RELATED: Arson investigators crucial to solving crimes like Green Valley Ranch homicide

However, according to records, the teens did not research who lived at the home and were not aware until there was news coverage of the fire that the victims were not the intended targets.

Credit: Family

Prior discussions about a possible plea deal were derailed this summer after Bui was arrested at the Denver Detention Center on June 4, when deputies responded to an overdose call in pod 3F. 

Due to the nature of that call, a search was conducted of the eight-man cell where the incident occurred, an affidavit says.

RELATED: Teen charged in fire that killed family caught with drugs at detention center, police say

Bui was contacted as part of that search, and blue baggies were found in his sock, the document says. He was escorted to another area for further searches and an additional baggie fell from his pants, the document says.

Credit: DPD
Kevin Bui

In all, the following was found:

  • A blue baggie with 46 blue pills with an "M" marking on one side and a "30" marking on the opposite side. The pills were suspected of being fentanyl.
  • A blue baggie inside of a tan baggie with 46 blue pills with an "M" marking on one side and a "30" marking on the opposite side, suspected of being fentanyl.

The baggies were located inside of a set of blue gloves, inside of a secured bag to secure the suspected narcotics, the affidavit says.

Bui faces a charge for possession of a controlled substance in the new case.

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