A woman who jumped from a third-story balcony to escape an April 2010 apartment building fire in Lexington said Friday that she was satisfied with the arsonist's 45-year sentence.
But Nell Honican, 61, said her injuries imposed a life sentence on her, while Brandon Dockery, 20, will get out of prison eventually.
Honican suffered two broken vertebrae, a fractured tailbone and shattered ankle bones, and she is on permanent disability as a result of the jump. She also lost two dogs in the fire; Baby, a 21-year-old Shih Tzu, and Fancy, a 13-year-old Lhasa apso.
"It's not that I don't forgive him," Honican said after Friday's sentencing. "You can forgive someone, but their actions need to have lasting consequences."
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Dockery, 20, pleaded guilty in June to second-degree arson, two counts of attempted murder and five counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.
Authorities have said the fire was set after an argument between Dockery and others in one of the units at Parkway Apartments at 1123 Centre Parkway. Dockery was accused of trying to kill four people in the building, but the fire left dozens of others homeless.
Dockery previously was convicted of wanton endangerment for firing a gun in the direction of a crowd and injuring one person outside Lexington Ice Center in 2008. A man was shot from behind in that incident, and Dockery pleaded guilty to the shooting in 2009. He was on probation for that conviction when he was charged in the fire.
In a statement to the judge, Dockery said he was "sorry for the loss and the pain my actions have caused. ... I'm sorry for the way this happened the way it did."
To the victims, Dockery said, "I hope that you find it in your hearts to forgive me."
Public defender Tom Griffiths noted that Dockery was "a damaged kid" who witnessed his father being shot to death while trying to save Brandon's life. His father, Jamal Covington, was shot to death in May 2008, and Dockery, 18 at the time, was shot in the thigh during the same incident.
Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine said she found photographs of the apartment fire to be "absolutely horrific."
Goodwine said she thought Dockery as sorry, "but sometimes choices have unintended consequences, and you have to pay the price for those choices."
Victims such as Honican "get a life sentence, one that was brought about through no fault of their own," Goodwine said.
The judge made the 15 years on the arson count consecutive with 20 years on one attempted-murder count and 10 years on the other, for a total of 45 years. The five years each on two wanton-endangerment counts will be served concurrently with one year each on the three remaining wanton-endangerment counts.
Honican said she declined to make a statement during the sentencing because she was too upset. And she said she was happy that Goodwine gave consecutive sentences on some charges.
Honican said she didn't accept the defense attorney's statement that Dockery was a damaged individual.
"We all have situations in our lives," she said. "That's no excuse."