EDISON – A suspended township police officer accused of scheming to set fire to his captain’s house avoided prison Friday after agreeing to testify against a former cop convicted in a series of vengeful plots.
Christian Pedana, 45, was fined $1,125 for obstructing the administration of law as part of a deal that Superior Court Judge Benjamin Bucca said could be perceived as a “slap on the wrist” for an Edison officer involved in misconduct.
Although the plan never materialized, authorities said Pedana plotted to burn down Capt. Matthew Freeman’s home in April 2013 with Michael Dotro, the former Edison cop who admitted to a series of misconduct charges, including setting fire to another supervisor’s home.
“Your cooperation, ultimately, was the key moment in the successful prosecution of officer Dotro,” Bucca said of Pedana’s deal, which downgraded his initial charge of conspiring to commit an aggravated arson.
After more than four years and dozens of charges a former Edison cop pleads guilty to attempted murder and arson
Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Russell Curley said Pedana’s cooperation was integral to the county’s case against Dotro, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison as part of a plea deal that wrapped up numerous misconduct charges against the former officer.
Pedana’s defense attorney, Jeffrey Garrigan, said Pedana agreed to testify against Dotro at trial.
Pedana, a 24-year veteran of the force, became aware that Dotro had “hatched some sort of scheme” to burn down his supervisor’s home, but did not report the plan because he did not believe Dotro would go through with it, his defense team said.
The fire was never set and the supervisor was not injured.
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