Teen pleads guilty to arson in relation to massive Lockport fire in August

Posted at 3:18 PM, Mar 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-16 19:36:10-04

The 14-year-old accused of setting the massive fire at the High Tread International(HTI) Recycling plant in Lockport last August which killed 14-year-old Joe Phillips pled guilty to burglary and arson charges Thursday afternoon.

According to the prosecutor in this case, the parents of Joe Phillips approved of the deal as long as cell phone video taken from inside the fire could played in court.

A hearing was scheduled to take place Thursday morning before the trial on whether or not this video could be used as evidence in court, but that hearing was never held when the judge explained a plea agreement was likely to be reached.

All other charges against the teenager, including criminally negligent homicide and criminal mischief were dismissed.  He 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 Niagara County Family Court Judge John Batt.  He will make the final decision and could place the teen in detention for up to 18 months.

A disposition hearing is underway Thursday afternoon to determine the outcome of the trial. Judge Batt said he doesn't expect to make a ruling in the case for a few weeks.