A teenager accused of setting a mattress fire that caused the death of an NYPD officer in 2014 played with fire as a child, a detective testified Thursday at the teen's murder trial.
"He had lit fires at home in the bathtub stretching back to the age of 9," said Det. John McDonald. "He would use alcohol to spell out his name in the tub and light that on fire."
Marcell Dockery, 16, allegedly confessed to torching a mattress on April 6, 2014, at a Coney Island apartment building .
The smokey fire killed officer Dennis Guerra and left his partner, officer Rosa Rodriguez, in a coma for 44 days.
Rodriguez and Guerra were both overcome by the smoke after they took an elevator to the 13th floor of the building on Surf Avenue to help residents get out.
On Monday, Rodriguez, who suffered permanent voice and lung damage, took the witness stand and described her final moments with her partner. She spoke in whispers as she described grabbing Guerra's shoulders as they looked for an exit.
"Can't breathe! Can't breathe!" Guerra's voice was heard in his call to dispatch.
His family sobbed as they listened to the recordings during the trial.
Dockery allegedly admitted to police that he ignited the mattress because he was bored.
"I did not mean to harm anyone or cause any damage to the building," he wrote in a signed confession.
His attorney, Jesse Young, has said that Dockery was coerced into giving oral and written confessions.