Father pleads guilty to charges in fire that killed son


A Buffalo father has admitted to starting a fire that killed his young son back in January. 

Joseph Conti was charged and pleaded guilty to Criminally Negligent Homicide on Friday. 

Conti admitted today that his recklessness led to the death of his son, Anthony.

Joseph Conti was reportedly trying to light a cigarette with a blowtorch in the family’s Lovejoy home when a mattress caught fire and the fire quickly spread. 

7-year-old Anthony Conti was pronounced dead after fire crews pulled him from the burning home. 

It was later learned that Joseph Conti was not supposed to be at the home when the fire started. This was due to an Order or Protection his wife had filed against him earlier that month. 

Conti reportedly tried to run back into the home and save his son but was unable to. 

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said seeking charges against Conti was necessary, and believes Conti lied about some of the details leading up to how the fire started, however also believes it was a terrible accident.

“Mr. Conti does not deserve to go to jail for the rest of his life,” said Flynn. “Mr. Conti has to live for the rest of his life knowing that his actions caused the death of his 7-year-old child. That right there is punishment enough.”

Conti could have been charged with Manslaughter in this case, but Flynn said he felt under the circumstances that would have been harsh. 

Conti was released on Friday on his own recognizance.

He will return for sentencing on November 9th.

The judge has agreed to cap his sentence at 6 months in jail and then 5 years probation. 

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