An NYPD officer who was injured in a blaze sparked by a teen who set a mattress on fire in 2014 testified in the 16-year-old's murder trial Monday, describing her final moments with her partner who succumbed to smoke while trying to get people out of the burning building.
Rosa Rodriguez testified in the murder trial for Marcell Dockery, who allegedly confessed to setting a mattress on fire at a Coney Island apartment building on April 6, 2014.
A resulting blaze killed Rodriguez's partner, Dennis Guerra, and left her barely able to talk. During the trial Monday, she spoke in whispers as she described grabbing Guerra's shoulders as they looked for an exit.
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.
"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.
Guerra was pronounced dead shortly after the blaze; Rodriguez was in a coma for 44 days and had permanent voice and lung damage.
Dockery allegedly admitted to police that he lit the mattress on fire because he was bored and was charged with murder.
"He killed a heroic police officer, he disabled another heroic police officer," said PBA President Pat Lynch, who was at the trial. "And it broke the hearts of those family members and those police officers sitting in that courtroom."
His attorney, Jesse Young, has said that Dockery was coerced into giving oral and written confessions.
Young said it will be up to Dockery to decide if he wants to take the stand during the trial.
Listen to the audio and video played in Dockery's trial above