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Teen charged in Lockport fire to be sentenced

Posted at 8:14 AM, Apr 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-11 18:42:11-04

The teen charged for his role in the Lockport fire that killed 14-year-old Joe Phillips will be sentenced in court. 

In Niagara County Family Court on Tuesday, a probation officer recommended the teen be placed in care of the Niagara County Social Services.

Marcella Carson of the Niagara County Probation Department was asked by the judge to provide a report detailing her recommendation. Based on Carson's judgment, the teen charged needs 24 hour supervision and his parents and grandparents aren't able "to properly supervise" the child.

According to Carson, the teen overdosed on medication recently while under the care of his grandparents. He is being treated at ECMC.

Carson's recommendation is based on interviews with the teen, his parents as well as his therapist and doctor. She also reviewed school records which she says show a history of violent behavior.

Last month the 14-year-old teen pleaded guilty to burglary and arson after new cell phone video, taken inside of the building, served as evidence connecting him to the massive fire at High Tread International Recycling Plant last August. 

Among the video clips was one showing a fire fueled by papers and boxes on the floor inside of the building, with no visible faces. Another clip shows the fire while two boys debate whether they should report what is going on. 

Defense attorney Angelo DiMillio says, it was something that happened "extremely quickly."

Sentencing is expected to start at 10a.m. on Tuesday morning at Niagara County Court in front of Judge John Batt.

The teen is responsible for $1500 restitution, which prosecutors say is the maximum amount for the case.

Any other punishment for the teen is left in the hands of Judge Batt.  He will make the final decision and could place the teen in detention for up to 18 months.

The case resumes at 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday, April 25. Judge Batt has ruled that no members of the public or media will be allowed to sit in while witnesses testify to the medical records and treatment to protect the teenager's privacy.