AUGUSTA — The idea that Andrew Balcer’s parents would not have supported him if he was questioning his own gender identity “is just not true,” according to his older brother, Christopher Balcer.

Christopher Balcer, 26, was the only other person in their Winthrop home last Halloween morning when Andrew Balcer allegedly murdered their mother and father, slaying the family dog and sparing his brother only when he pleaded for his life.

“He has my full support, and I wish him the best of luck in his struggles” with his gender identity, Christopher Balcer said during a phone interview Thursday morning, as a two-day hearing concerning his younger brother’s case was coming to a close. Christopher Balcer, who did not attend either day of the hearing, said he wasn’t aware that his brother was experiencing any gender confusion or depression.

“But that does not absolve him of any guilt,” he continued, “and any statements made that somehow this family would have been anything less than the most supportive is an utter falsehood. Our family made our problems their problems, no matter what.”

By the end of Thursday’s hearing, a judge ruled that there was probable cause to believe that Andrew Balcer “executed” his parents. The judge now is deciding whether Andrew Balcer, who is in custody at Long Creek Youth Development Center, should be tried as an adult, as prosecutors want. He has been charged with two counts of intentional or knowing murder.

Defense attorney Walter McKee didn’t contest the charges against Andrew Balcer, who was just shy of his 18th birthday when Alice and Antonio Balcer, both 47, were stabbed to death a year ago. Instead, McKee argued that his client’s case should remain in the juvenile justice system.

McKee used the testimony of a psychologist, a correctional worker and a grandparent to suggest that Andrew Balcer probably attacked his parents because he was having a gender identity crisis, worried about their reaction to it and eventually “snapped,” a word he used with a 911 dispatcher even as he said he didn’t know why he killed his parents.

But Christopher Balcer — who now lives in Augusta, studies at the University of Maine at Augusta, and says he is estranged from his younger brother — disputed several of those arguments.

Like the attorneys who are prosecuting the case, he thinks Andrew Balcer should be tried as an adult, given that the slayings happened just a month before Andrew turned 18.

Christopher Balcer said he was also unaware of any gender confusion or depression that his brother was experiencing, he said, but he thinks that if Andrew Balcer had been going through those things, his parents probably would have rallied to his side.

Alice Balcer, commonly known as “Ali,” met her husband Antonio, or “Tony” while they were both serving in the U.S. Coast Guard.

She worked at the Kennebec Valley Humane Society and the Winthrop Veterinary Hospital, and according to her obituary, “She fiercely loved her family, including her two sons, husband” and other relatives.

Antonio Balcer was the chaplain in several regional motorcycle groups, often officiating their weddings and services and earning the nickname “Rev.”

“He spread his love for and relationship with the Lord through gentle prayer, providing guidance and support to those around him,” his obituary states.

In court this week, a state forensic psychologist hinted at some of the tension that might have existed between Andrew Balcer and his father.

The psychologist, Debra Baeder, testified that she has evaluated Andrew Balcer several times. On one occasion, he recounted an argument with his father, which happened after Antonio Balcer reportedly made a derogatory comment about a transgender person.

Andrew Balcer “thought it could get physically confrontational if his father knew” about his own struggles, she said. At another point, Baeder said, Andrew Balcer was suicidal and “harbored some homicidal inclinations toward his parents.”

Many of Andrew Balcer’s relatives have supported him since the killings. A group of them appeared at his hearing this week. His grandfather, Arthur Pierce, 82, of Brunswick, a retired school superintendent, testified that Andrew Balcer was a bright child who spent much time alone. He also recounted a conversation with his grandson at Long Creek last spring, in which the teen described the anxiety he felt about his gender identity.

Christopher Balcer, though, has shunned Andrew Balcer since the early hours of Oct. 31, 2016. After hearing someone yell on that cold fall morning, Christopher Balcer came upstairs from his basement bedroom and discovered a ghastly scene.

“I saw my father lying on his back in a pool of his own blood, breathing very slowly, and my brother standing over him with a knife,” he told the Kennebec Journal in an interview last winter.

Christopher Balcer ran back down into their basement and tried to dial 911. He was soon followed by Andrew Balcer, who carried the Ka-Bar knife that was used in the murders and a handgun that belonged to their father. After Christopher begged for his life, Andrew Balcer let his brother flee the house, he told detectives in a recorded interview that was played in court this week.

While Christopher Balcer remains close with his other relatives, he said that he’s had no contact with Andrew Balcer and doesn’t wish to. He also said that while his parents periodically had loud arguments, the family members were close to each other and “there was no abuse.”

On Thursday, he also disputed the defense attorney’s argument that his brother should be treated as a youth.

“The idea that he was not criminally liable for his actions because of his age, it’s preposterous,” Christopher Balcer said. “And the fact that Mr. McKee is even trying to do this — I don’t know what he’s doing, I don’t know anything about the legal system — but it flummoxes me that the man is even trying.”

Then, he added of his brother, “I hope that he goes to jail, and I hope he doesn’t come back.”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker