SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – One of the seven Sioux Falls homicide cases from 2022 is a step closer to being closed.
35-year-old Gerri Jensen has now pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and first-degree arson for a July 2022 fire that left one person dead. Her plea Wednesday dropped a first degree murder charge that could have put her in prison for the rest of her life.
On July 17th, 2022, first responders were called to a fire at an apartment on North Grange Avenue in Sioux Falls. Two women were taken to the hospital for burn treatment — 53-year-old Charice Admire and 35-year-old Gerri Jensen.
The next day, Admire died. An autopsy ruled her cause of death as a homicide.
“I saw her that Sunday. I was sitting down with her, I was talking to her, I had lunch with her. I hugged her, told her I loved her, kissed her goodbye, said ‘mom, I’ll see you Monday,'” Wesley Adams, Admire’s son said in 2022.
Four months later, Jensen was arrested after being released from the hospital.
Court papers detailed Jensen had gotten into a fight with another woman at the Lucky Lady Casino. When the two returned to the central Sioux Falls apartment, Jensen started a gasoline-fueled fire. Neighbors found Jensen in the backyard — they told police she was trying to get away but the neighbors held her back and helped treat her burns.
Admire had nothing to do with the fight.
“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,” Adams said in 2022. “Now she’s not here because she was literally just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
A mother of three and a grandma to nine, Charice Admire is missed by many.
“Nobody is promised tomorrow. We all have a date with God and we don’t know what that date is. So until that day comes, give them their flowers while they’re here because I got to give my mom her’s out at the cemetery,” Adams said in 2022.
Jensen’s charges of first degree manslaughter and first degree arson also carry with them the admittance that Jensen has a prior felony. In court Wednesday, the judge said Jensen had pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in 2018.
Jensen’s sentencing has been scheduled for June 20th. She could face a maximum sentence of up to life in prison.