The confession offered by 16-year-old Marcell Dockery was coerced by cops who “broke him the same way prisoners of war are broken,” according to the teen’s lawyer.
Dockery is facing several charges including murder, assault and robbery after the April 6 fire in Coney Island left one police officer dead and another in critical condition. Dockery is accused of setting the fire, and hours after his arrest he allegedly confessed in writing and on video that he sparked the blaze because “he was bored.”
But now his lawyer is arguing that the confession should be tossed, and is also requesting that a specialist on coerced confessions be brought in to interview Dockery.
Daily News reports:
Defense lawyer Jesse Young said his client “at the tender age of 16” was no match for seasoned homicide detectives who grilled him for eight to 10 hours in an interrogation room.
“They broke him the same way prisoners of war are broken,” Young said Thursday in Brooklyn Supreme Court. “It doesn’t take much to break a 16-year-old and they did it.”
Young said the detectives extracted the confession in part by falsely promising Dockery that his mother would not be evicted from her apartment if he owned up to torching the mattress.
During a brief pre-trial hearing, Justice Danny Chun authorized funds for the defense lawyer to hire Richard Ofshe, an expert on the subject of coerced confessions, to interview Dockery and review the evidence.
The article also notes that the New York City Housing Authority has kicked off eviction proceedings against Dockery’s mother.