New York Daily News

Updated: May 5, 2016, 8:48 PM



Marcell Dockery found guilty of murder, arson and assault for April 2014 mattress fire in Coney Island apartment building that killed NYPD officer, injured another


Cathy Guerra (l.), wife of slain Officer Dennis Guerra, stands with his partner, Officer Rosa Rodriguez, after Marcell Dockery was found guilty of setting the fire that killed Guerra.

“This is a very emotional day, an emotional day for this family” said police union head Patrick Lynch as he stood by their side after court. He called the verdict “just,” but noted that it would not bring back the 38-year-old father of four.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said he hoped the verdict would bring “some comfort” to Guerra’s family.

“Police Officers Guerra and Rodriguez showed great courage when they rushed into that building to save the lives of others. Tragically, Officer Guerra lost his life and his partner suffered severe and permanent life-threatening injuries — all because the defendant was bored and set a mattress on fire, and did so despite being clearly warned about the dangers of setting fires,” the DA said.

Marcell Dockery faces up to 25 years in prison when he's sentenced next month.

Dockery was 16 when he confessed to setting the fire inside of 2007 Surf Avenue.

Dockery’s lawyer said the teen — who had a history of starting fires — didn’t do it.

Young argued that Dockery was a good Samaritan on April 6, 2014 when he "leaped into action to alert his neighbors" using the lessons he learned during a court-mandated fire safety course.

Dockery testified on his own behalf that he gave the false confession because his family's livelihood was threatened by detectives and was told he wouldn’t be charged if he said he committed the crime.

Prosecutor Howard Jackson pointed out to jurors the arsonist — who told investigators he started the blaze because he was "bored" — seemed totally cool during the 15- minute videotaped confession.


The blaze killed NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra and injured Officer Rosa Rodriguez.

"How can you believe anything he said what the detectives did or said to him? Look at his demeanor," said Jackson.

"He's cool as a cucumber."

In a highly unusual move, the jury sent the judge a note pleading for leniency.

"We would like to express our sincerest feeling that the defendant didn't mean to harm anyone as a result of his actions. While sentencing did not play a role in our decisions, we hope leniency can be shown," the note said.

He faces 25 years to life in prison when he’s sentenced June 14.