A teenager admitted in court Tuesday that he set a fire that claimed the life of a man last fall at a boarding house in downtown St. John's.

The boy, 17, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Carlos Escobar Medina, who died in the Nov. 27 fire at the Springdale Street house where both had been living.

The boy also pleaded guilty to three counts of arson with disregard for human life.

A hearing on sentencing has been scheduled for August.

The Crown has indicated it would like the teen, who cannot currently be named because of a publication ban under Young Offenders legislation, to be sentenced as an adult.

But defence lawyer Peter Ralph will argue that the teen should be sentenced as a youth, in part, because of his mental health at the time of the fire. The teen was 16 when he lit the fire at the home.

The incident raised questions about the services available to youth, in particular how troubled youth often live unsupervised in what critics have called inadequate surroundings. The office of the Child and Youth Advocate said in December it would investigate how government agencies provided services to the youth.

With files from Glenn Payette