Lexington arson case goes to grand jury

A grand jury will review the case of a Lexington man who admitted setting a fire that gutted an apartment complex, leaving 64 of its residents homeless.

A district court judge waived Brandon Dockery's case to a grand jury at a preliminary hearing Friday morning. No testimony was heard.

Dockery, 21, is charged with one count of first-degree arson, four counts of attempted murder and 20 counts of wanton endangerment.

Pam Ledgewood, a Lexington attorney who is representing Dockery pro bono, said the arson charge alone could carry a sentence of 20 years if he is convicted.

"This is not probation or a short sentence," she said. "He's looking at many years of his life."

Investigators have said the blaze, which occurred about 3 a.m. April 15, was set after an argument between Dockery and four others in one of the units at Parkway Apartments on Centre Parkway near Tates Creek Elementary School. Police said Dockery admitted using gasoline outside the woman's apartment.

Ledgewood, who represented Dockery in a 2008 wanton-endangerment case, said she will represent him in this case if a plea bargain can be reached. If there is a trial, she said, Dockery's case will be turned over to a public defender.

Ledgewood said she's representing Dockery because "there are some very, very sympathetic things about this young man."

Dockery's father, Jamal Covington, who had ties to a Chicago street gang, was shot to death in May 2008 in front of Dockery. Ledgewood said Dockery's aunt is the only family he has in Lexington.

"He was exposed — as a child — to some really, really bad stuff," she said. "Having said that, of course, that doesn't change the fact that this is a terrible crime that could have been a lot worse."

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