LOCKPORT, NY - There were new, explosive developments in the trial of a 14-year-old Lockport teen, who has admitted to his role in a massive industrial fire last year, that killed his best friend.
Prosecutors called to the stand a third teen, who says he saw the defendant in the moments after the fire and that the defendant deleted cell phone video he took of the fire, with the victim present.
But, Lockport police investigators were able to eventually obtain multiple cell phone videos from the defendant’s phone and present them at trial.
The defense attorney, Ange DiMillo was able to weaken that cover-up claim.
Prosecutors from the Niagara County attorneys office put a 14-year-old boy on the stand, who’s a friend of the defendant. He says he saw him moments after the High Tread International plant went up in flames last year.
The fire killed 14-year-old Joseph Phillips.
The witness testified that the defendant told him, Phillips tried to put the fire out with his shirt. But, when the flames got out of control, the defendant left the scene and went to the witness’ house and into his room.
Under questioning from the prosecution, the witness explained what happened next.
“What did you see on his phone?” the prosecutor asked.
Prosecutor: “Of what”
Witness: “A box on fire,”
Prosecutor: “What else”
Witness: “Video of fire. He was deleting some of it”
Prosecutor: “Were you present?”
Witness: “Yes. He was scared, he didn’t want to get into trouble. He deleted a video."
But under cross examination, the defense poked holes in the deleted video claim.
“Did you see what was on the phone?” asked attorney DiMillo.
Witness: “Not really”
Defense Attorney: “You don’t know if it was actually deleted?”
Witness: “Yes. I saw him pressing buttons”
The witness says he didn’t tell anyone about what happened until a return trip back to his home, and told his mother.
The county attorney’s office says it is not considering any charges against the third teen, saying there is not enough evidence to show him as an accomplice.
Another development in this trial, the defense attorney explained why his client was absent from Friday’s proceedings. The attorney told 2 On Your Side his client has been hospitalized, but wouldn't explain exactly what for, other than to say his client has been through a lot.
This case will resume in early April, that’s when a sentence could be issued by the family court judge. The defendant could get anywhere between probation and 18 months in a juvenile detention facility.