LEWISTON — The aunt of a 12-year-old boy charged with intentionally starting the first of three recent major fires in Lewiston said on Monday that Brody Covey lived in the building he is accused of burning and that she believes he was put up to it.

Ami Reilly, who briefly had custody of Covey two years ago before he went back to his mother, Jessica Reilly, said Covey had never been in trouble before but that he was having trouble at home in the apartment buildings at 105-111 Blake St. and no longer wanted to live there.

“I’m thinking he was put up to it,” said Ami Reilly, who lives in Lewiston. “Brody’s really not a bad kid. He’s so responsible.”

Ami Reilly spoke in Lewiston District Court, where authorities had previously said Covey would appear in open court for his initial juvenile court appearance to face three counts of felony arson. Though he is charged as a juvenile, the proceeding would be public due to the seriousness of the charges.

But Judge John Beliveau said after opening the court briefly to the public that the Androscoggin District Attorney’s Office had not filed a criminal petition with the courthouse against Covey or another 12-year-old boy who is charged with setting a different fire in Lewiston Friday that burned down four buildings downtown.

“Under our code it’s not open to the public until a formal petition is filed,” Beliveau said.

Authorities have yet to name the second boy, accused of burning buildings on Bartlett Street, and that boy’s family declined to comment, speaking through a Somali translator.

The judge said the District Attorney’s Office had only filed petitions for the boys to be detained and planned hold those hearings later Monday behind closed doors. He scheduled both boys to return to court on May 13 to be arraigned in a hearing that will be open to the public.

This story will be updated.

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