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Teenager charged in Lockport fire back in court

Posted at 10:25 AM, Mar 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-16 10:25:13-04

The fact-finding hearing continues Thursday in Niagara County Family Court for a 14-year-old teenager accused of criminal mischief, arson, and criminally negligent homicide in connection to a massive fire in Lockport this past August.

The fire killed 14-year-old Joe Phillips of Lockport and caused $13 million in losses to High Tread International Recycling on Ohio Street.

Prosecutors have said the teenager charged and Joe Phillips started the fire that burned for days and forced an entire neighborhood to evacuate.

There is a suppression hearing Thursday morning that will determine whether cell phone videos from the defendant's phone will be allowed as evidence.

The last time the teenager appeared in court, prosecutors played a voicemail recording that Joe Phillips left on his phone while trapped inside the burning building.  They also presented the videos, which are the topic of Thursday morning's suppression hearing.

The fact-finding hearing, which Niagara County Family Court Judge John Batt described as similar to a criminal trial, continues after the suppression hearing.