June 14, 2016
  


Brooklyn Teen Sentenced in Mattress Fire That Killed NYPD Cop

By Jonathan Dienst

The Brooklyn teenager convicted last month of setting a mattress fire that killed a New York City police officer has been sentenced to 19 years to life in the arson murder. 

Marcell Dockery, 18, had been facing 25 years to life after being convicted in May of murder, arson and assault in connection with the April 2014 fire that killed Officer Dennis Guerra and injured his partner, Rosa Rodriguez.

Dockery did not speak during sentencing.

"We're satisfied," Guerra's mother told reporters afterward. "At least we know that justice was served." 

"We don't want him to suffer. But he has to pay the consequences," said Guerra's father. 

"While there was talk of forgiveness in this courtroom, forgiveness does not mean we forget. We won't forget what Dennis meant to this family," Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said as Guerra's family stood behind him. 

Dockery's lawyer said they're continuing to work on an appeal.

"He still maintains his innocence," said the attorney. 

Prosecutors alleged Dockery set fire to a mattress in the hallway of a public housing apartment building in Coney Island on April 6, 2014. Guerra and Rodriguez were responding to the scene when they were overcome by smoke and carbon monoxide. Firefighters found the two officers unconscious. Guerra died three days later and Rodriguez spent six weeks in a hospital.

After the fire, Dockery, who lived in the building, told detectives he used a lighter to set the mattress on fire. A videotape of Dockery's interrogation was admitted as evidence during the trial.

"I decided to take a lighter and light the top of the mattress because I was bored," he told police.

But Dockery, who testified in his own defense, said he lied to the detectives and claimed he discovered the fire and tried to save other residents. He said police threatened to evict his family if he didn't tell the truth and that detectives told him he wouldn't be charged if he confessed.