New York Daily News

May 2, 2014


 

Marcell Dockery arraigned in second-degree murder of cop killed in Coney Island arson


The 16-year-old who allegedly confessed to setting a mattress on fire April 6 has been charged in the death of NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra. Guerra, who was responding to the blaze, died after inhaling toxic smoke. ‘He must be ... held punished for the irreversible loss to the families of these two police officers,’ Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said.

BY CAITLIN NOLAN, LARRY MCSHANE

JEFF BACHNER/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Marcell Dockery, seen April 7, was arraigned Thursday on charges of second-degree murder.

He wasn't smirking this time.

Accused cop-killer Marcell Dockery stood somberly Thursday as family members wept during his Brooklyn arraignment for second-degree murder.

Dockery, 16, was ordered held without bail on charges that he set the April 6 arson fire that killed Officer Dennis Guerra in a Coney Island high-rise.

The teen suspect had flashed a wicked grin at photographers after confessing to torching a mattress in the 13th floor hallway at 2007 Surf Ave., authorities said.

The charges were upgraded to second-degree murder when Guerra lost a three-day fight for his life.

Dockery wore a brown prison jumpsuit with handcuffs around his wrists in entering a plea of not guilty to charges of murder, assault and robbery. His next court date was set for May 29.

A half-dozen relatives of the teen suspect began crying when the charge of "causing the death of Police Officer Guerra" was read aloud in the Brooklyn courtroom.

About 70 fellow police officers turned out in support of Guerra and Officer Rosa Rodriguez, who was critically injured in the blaze.

“Marcell Dockery disregarded the safety of those who lived in that apartment house and of those who would respond to the fire that he set,” said Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch.

“His indifference to the well-being of others makes him a danger to society and he must be ... held punished for the irreversible loss to the families of these two police officers.”

Guerra, 38, was a married father-of-four and an eight-year NYPD veteran. The officer never regained consciousness after inhaling a blast of toxic smoke when the building's elevator doors opened on the fire floor.

"I was bored," Dockery told cops after his arrest. "I was bored and I felt like doing it, so I lit the mattress."

Dockery's rap sheet includes a prior arrest for lighting a fire. He also faces robbery and larceny charges for using a razor in a March 7 mugging of a 60-year-old neighbor.

The dead officer's partner Rodriguez remains in critical but stable condition at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell. Rodriguez, 36, is the mother-of-four.

Defense lawyers say Dockery tried to extinguish the blaze and banged on neighbors' doors to get them to safety.

Attorney Jesse Young also said in court that Dockery's confessions after his arrest was bogus.

Dockery “adamantly denies any alleged statements attributed to him in an oral statement, in a written statement, in a videotaped statement made to prosecutors,” said Young.

“In other words, they have said he confessed to this arson. ... He adamantly denied that he confessed. The confession was not voluntary.”

lmcshane@nydailynews.com