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Battle Creek man charged with causing fatal fire

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Battle Creek man charged with starting fire that killed a young girl.
Battle Creek man charged with starting fire that killed a young girl.

BATTLE CREEK (WKZO) -- It’s taken a while but Battle Creek Police have arrested Jessie Tatum for allegedly starting a fire that killed an 8-year-old girl.

Police say that Tatum had been dating Karrina Johnson’s mother. Soon after an ugly scene between the two at a party, the house where Janeen Johnson and her children were living caught fire, and tests revealed that accelerants were used to start that fire.

Two older siblings were able to escape by jumping from a second story window, but Karrina was trapped inside and had to be rescued. She died later at the hospital.

Tatum could be formally charged today with felony murder.

Michael Roberson is expected to be charged as an accessory after the fact in the case for allegedly giving Johnson a ride that night.

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