Former neighbor believes convicted arsonist got off easy

Dawn Halbert lived below Kenya McGhee when she masterminded a plan to burn down their apartment building back in March 2012

A former neighbor of Kenya McGhee is speaking out after McGhee agreed to a plea deal Monday for her role in an arson fire that left two people dead back in 2012.

Dawn Halbert lived one floor below McGhee at the Hidden Cedars Apartment complex in Springfield Township. Halbert and her two daughters had to rush out of their apartment the night of March 25, 2012 after the building was set ablaze.

READ: Fatal fire survivors recount escape from Springfield Twp. condo complex

The blaze claimed all of the Halbertâ??s possessions, and killed three of their pets, including a dog, a cat and a hamster.

While the Halberts made it out ok, the emotional scars from that night linger. Dawn told WNWO that she and her youngest daughter still have difficulty sleeping, worried about the possibility of another fire. Dawn said she has become sensitive to any open flames, and gets nervous any time her neighbors have a barbeque or a bonfire.

The mastermind behind the fire was Kenya McGhee, who was looking to cash in on the damage using her renter's insurance. However, the inferno left two people dead, including Kenyaâ??s own father, who investigators say actually set the fire using gasoline. But Dawn Halbert believes Kenya tricked her elderly father into doing it.

â??I donâ??t think her dad knew what he was doing when he helped Kenya, because he was sick. He was old, had dementia.â??

Under a plea agreement reached with the Lucas County Prosecutor, Kenya McGhee will serve up to 15 years in prison, but is eligible for release after only serving half that time. Halbert believes her former neighbor is getting off easy.

â??It wasnâ??t justice at all. And she can get early release, and so, no, itâ??s not (justice). Itâ??s a slap on the hand to her,â?? Halbert told WNWO.

For now, Dawn and her family have settled into a new home in Toledo, and are doing their best to move on from the fire.

â??You canâ??t let it get you down, you canâ??t dwell on it. So, you just start over and just start building new memories,â?? said Halbert.

Another one of Halbertâ??s former neighbors, Olandia Dixon, was the second victim of the 2012 fire. Halbert said they keep in close contact with Dixonâ??s daughter, and consider her to be family.