AUGUSTA — A 21-year-old Gardiner man pleaded guilty Tuesday to a charge of aggravated criminal mischief in connection with a July 1 fire that destroyed a wooden shed built by inmates and belonging to the nonprofit Augusta Trails group.

Daniel R. Dill had been indicted last month on an arson charge, but that charge was dismissed Tuesday in exchange for a guilty plea to aggravated criminal mischief.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 5 in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Brad Grant, said Dill’s actions were caught on a game camera that had been set up after several incidents in which the shed was damaged. The shed, valued at between $8,000 and $10,000, was in the Bond Brook Recreation Area on property belonging to the city of Augusta.

Grant said Dill admitted setting the fire after he was confronted with the camera’s recordings.

The shed — about 12 feet by 16 feet — was built by inmates at the Central Maine Pre-release Center and placed on the site last November. It was used to time ski races last winter and was empty at the time of the fire.

William Baghdoyan said continuing the hearing for sentencing will allow Dill, who is in the U.S. Army, to return to his base in New York, where he expects to be separated from the military.

Terms of the plea agreement anticipate that Dill would serve about seven months in jail for the offense, attorneys said.

Baghdoyan also said the $5,000 cash bail posted for Dill will go toward restitution once he is sentenced.

In a separate hearing, a Waterville teenager was sentenced as an adult Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court for repeatedly punching a police officer in the face in June.

Carl Hunter, 17, had been on a short furlough from a juvenile detention center, Mountain View Youth Development Center in Charleston, and failed to return.

Two police officers and two juvenile workers from the center got a tip that Hunter was at a Ticonic Street residence. When they confronted him outside that address, police say he resisted arrest.

On Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Brad Grant said Hunter attempted to flee and punched Officer Bill Bonney several times in the face and damaged his uniform.

A judge in district court on Oct. 11 approved a petition allowing Hunter to be charged as an adult for the assault on an officer.

“It was on its way to the grand jury because of the force used,” Grant told Justice Michaela Murphy.

Bonney suffered facial cuts and bruises and damage to his uniform, but he was not hospitalized and was able to return to work.

Murphy sentenced Hunter to five years in jail, with all but six months suspended, and two years’ probation.

Hunter had previously been sentenced to 30 days at Mountain View on two other charges related to the same incident.

Charles T. Ferris, the attorney representing Hunter in court on Tuesday, said Hunter has already served about five months on the charge while being held at Mountain View.

Hunter is to serve the remainder of his sentence at the Kennebec County Jail, attorneys said.

Several other people were sentenced Tuesday in separate hearings in Kennebec County Superior Court:

* Byron Bergeron, 38, of Clinton; marijuana cultivation Sept. 23 in Clinton; $1,000 fine.

* Robert E. Arris Jr., 33, of Readfield; negotiating a worthless instrument June 11 in Winthrop; $500 fine.

* Stephen Gerard Bailey Sr., 48, of Augusta; domestic violence criminal threatening Aug. 19 in Augusta; nine-month jail sentence.

* Michael W. Bowden, 28, of Augusta; two counts of trafficking in scheduled drugs Dec. 15, and Jan. 25; four-year jail sentence, all but nine months suspended, two years’ probation, $800 fine.

* Kevin A. Giles, 27, of Clinton; unlawful possession of scheduled drugs July 28 in Hallowell; 364-day jail sentence, all but 30 days suspended (to be served in the alternative sentencing program), one year administrative release, $400 fine.

* Mark A. Gooding, 46, of Augusta; domestic violence assault July 25 in Augusta; three-year jail sentence, all but one year suspended, two years’ probation.

* Samuel Ryan Smith, 21, of Randolph; criminal mischief March 31, 2010, in Gardiner; 120-day jail sentence, credit for 120 days served.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]


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