AUGUSTA — A 15-year-old boy accused of burglarizing several homes on a Togus Pond island and burning one of them to the ground last month was in court Thursday to face those charges for the first time.

James Croxford responded “no answer” — the equivalent of a not guilty plea from an adult — to one charge of arson and six charges of burglary.

He also faces a number of misdemeanor charges related to break-ins at homes on Coon Island and one on the mainland, which were handled when the courtroom was closed to the public because he is a juvenile.

Croxford was brought to the hearing in Augusta District Court from Mountain View Youth Development Center in Charleston, where he has been held since his arrest.

Assistant District Attorney David Jackson asked that Croxford remain in custody because of the nature and the number of the charges.

“He would not be safe in the community and the community would not be safe from him,” Jackson told Judge Valerie Stanfill.

Scott Gurney, the attorney retained by the state to represent Croxford, said he did not object to Croxford remaining in custody for the time being. Croxford was in state custody at the time the burglaries and arson occurred May 4.

The dark-haired boy, dressed in a bright blue T-shirt, jeans and wearing white sneakers, said little else during the brief hearing. He met with Gurney just before the hearing.

Stanfill set a trial on the charges for 10 a.m. Aug. 16 in Augusta District Court.

Owners of the burned home, Rob Deschamps and Allison Ames, waited hours for the hearing to begin. They said they have been working to clean up the site, and on Saturday found Ames’ class ring among the debris.

They lost many items of sentimental value in the fire.

“We want to rebuild,” Deschamps said. “There are obstacles in our way.”

They did not have insurance on the home, mainly because the rates were so high because of limited accessibility to the island in Togus Pond.

The couple have made their home on the island for years, occupying an efficiency apartment in town when winter conditions make it impossible to get to Coon Island.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]


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