SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Bond is set at 2-million dollars cash only for the woman accused of starting a deadly fire.
35-year-old Gerri Jensen is charged with multiple counts of murder, attempted murder and arson. Court papers say Jensen got in a fight with a woman at a casino. When that woman returned to her central Sioux Falls apartment, so did Jensen.
The victim who died – 53-year-old Charice Admire – had nothing to do with the fight. Family members tell us she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
On July 17th, at least five people were inside a North Grange Avenue apartment building when a gasoline-fueled fire quickly spread.
Four people escaped from windows… two women were flown to Minneapolis to be treated for serious burns, including Admire, who died the next day.
Jensen was also hospitalized in the twin cities. She was released this week and faced a judge Friday.
“Detectives and the State’s Attorney’s Office were granted a warrant, there was an arrest warrant that was issued on Monday. It was for several counts of murder in the first degree, attempted murder and arson,” Sam Clemens with the Sioux Falls Police Department said.
Court documents say Jensen had been fighting with another woman at the apartment on North Grange Avenue prior to the fire.
That woman says she saw Jensen pouring something out of a gas can onto the stairs and entry of the building. Court papers say Jensen then pulled out a lighter and started a fire. The woman also told police they tried checking on Charice Admire, but couldn’t reach her because of the flames.
“Somebody else that was just completely unrelated to it, had just got off of work, had a long day at work and was just sitting down, laying down, unwinding,” Wesley Adams, Charice Admire’s son, said. “Now she’s not here because she was literally just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Admire’s family members say they are glad they are one step closer to justice, but it’s still difficult to know that, no matter what, she won’t be coming home.
“It’s every night, ‘Mommy, Grandma Charice is our angel now.’ We pray every night for grandma and keep her spirit living on,” Rachel Adams, Charice Admire’s daughter-in-law, said.
Court documents also say a neighbor tried helping Jensen with her burns from the fire. The neighbor told police Jensen at one point attempted to jump the chain link fence to get away. The neighbor held her down until the police and ambulance arrived.