Father Pleads Guilty to Criminally Negligent Homicide for Son's Death in Lovejoy House Fire

Modified: August 27, 2018 9:57am

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 54-year-old Joseph Conti of Buffalo pleaded guilty before State Supreme Court Justice Paul B. Wojtaszek to one count of Criminally Negligent Homicide, a Class “E” felony.

On January 29, 2018, at approximately 2:42 a.m., the defendant admitted that he lit a cigarette with a blowtorch inside his Benzinger Street home. He set the blowtorch on a bed, which ignited a mattress and the fire spread throughout the house.

Several family members were able to escape the fire. The defendant’s 7-year-old son, Anthony Conti, was found inside by firefighters. He later died at Oishei Children’s Hospital from smoke inhalation.

Conti was released on his own recognizance. He faces 6 months in jail followed by 5 years of probation when he is sentenced on Friday, November 9 at 9:30 a.m. 

DA Flynn commends the investigative work of Det. Sgt. Bill Cooley, Det. John Garcia and Det. Daniel Redman of the Buffalo Police Department as well as Commander James Otwell and Fire Marshalls Paul Simonian and Sean McKinnie of the Buffalo Fire Department. Also, the DA acknowledges Firefighter Ray Sullivan who located the little boy inside the house.

The case was prosecuted by Colleen Curtin Gable, Chief of the DA’s Homicide Bureau, Assistant District Attorney James M. Marra of the Felony Trials Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Christine M. Garvey of the DA’s Homicide Bureau.