Police officer arrested for allegedly firebombing police captain's home

May 24, 2013 3:26:14 PM PDT
An Edison police officer was arrested and charged for allegedly setting fire to the home of the Edison police captain and his family.

Edison Police Officer Michael Dotro entered the courtroom, briefly glancing at his family.

It was his first appearance after being charged with five counts of attempted murder, and one count of arson. His attorney entered his plea of not guilty.

At 4 a.m. on Monday morning, a Molotov cocktail was hurled at Edison Police Captain Mark Anderko's home in Monroe.

His wife, two young kids, and 92-year-old mother were all inside asleep as the flames grew.

All escaped unharmed.

The Middlesex County Prosecutor says evidence points to 35-year-old Dotro.

"The vast majority of officers are excellent. The best way we can help them is to weed out the bad ones," said Andrew Carey, Acting Middlesex County Prosecutor.

As for a motive, there is word the captain signed off on a negative evaluation for Dotro's work on the force.

Eyewitness News asked his attorney.

"I'm not aware of anything like that," said Lawrence Bitterman, Dotro's attorney.

Dotro's family would not comment after court.

Edison's police chief said in a statement, "It is with deep regret that something of this nature should befall the department."

Judge Bradley Ferencz left bail at $5 million cash, with no 10% option because of the severity of the crime.

If convicted, Dotro faces 30 years to life in prison.