A man accused of setting a fire that killed three children has pleaded guilty to reduced charges.

Genesee County Prosecutor John Potbury said Rodney King Jr., of Burton, pleaded guilty April 30 to three counts of second-degree murder and first-degree arson.

Potbury said King has to testify against Erica Starkey of Flint as part of his plea agreement and will get a minimum 18 years in prison.

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Investigators said a child called 911 about 6 a.m. on June 10, 2016, to report the home at 643 Vermilya Ave. in Flint was on fire.

When firefighters arrived they found the victims, 13-year-old Onyah Starkey, and her brother 4-year-old Kaydon Hull, as well as 14-year-old Brianna Beaushaw, inside the home. Beaushaw was a friend of Onyah who was spending the night.

Starkey is the mother of Onyah and Kaydon.

She was charged with one count of felony murder and two counts of second-degree murder. She was also charged with three counts of child abuse in the second degree, three counts of unlawful imprisonment and two counts of killing an animal.

Investigators said King and Starkey met at a bar and went back to the home to do drugs. King allegedly gave Starkey money for more drugs, but when she did not return he got mad and set the couch on fire.

Police believe King did not know children were in the home.

During their investigation officials found the 4-year-old boy was locked inside a room on the first floor of the home. Investigators determined the boy tried to escape the room, but a padlock kept him from leaving.

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