PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For a second time, a jury has convicted a Northeast Philadelphia man of intentionally setting an Oxford Circle rowhome fire that killed his two young sons 31 years ago.
A jury on Monday found 56-year-old Daniel Dougherty guilty of arson and second degree murder in the 1985 fire that killed his two young sons, 3-year-old John and 4-year-old Daniel. Jurors did render a not guilty verdict on the charge of first degree murder.READ MORE: Fired-Up Sixers Fans Pack Wells Fargo Center For Home Opener
Prosecutor Jude Conroy told jurors that Dougherty started the fire after a night of drinking, and then arguing with his live-in girlfriend who threatened to leave him, and his wife, who refused his sexual advances.
The defense only called one witness, and arson expert. He testified the official ruling on cause should have been “undetermined.”READ MORE: Student Shoots Himself In Leg Inside West Philadelphia School With Metal Detectors, Police Say
In the end, the panel of jurors sided with the prosecution.
Immediately after the verdict was read, Dougherty started mouthing off to the jury, saying they got it wrong. He started commenting on the verdict before jurors even filed out of the courtroom.
As sheriff’s deputies surrounded Dougherty, Judge Scott O’Keefe scolded him and told him to sit down. Before sentencing him, the judge called it a “despicable crime” to get back at the two women in his life, his girlfriend at the time, and the mother of their children. The judge then handed Dougherty consecutive life terms with no parole.MORE NEWS: Man Shot, Killed Inside West Philadelphia Corner Store, Police Say
Dougherty was convicted and sentenced to death back in 2000, but he was granted a new trial by an appeals court.