AUGUSTA — A city man was found not criminally responsible on Tuesday for setting fire May 27 to a five-unit Cedar Court apartment building, where one man escaped by jumping out a window and onto a roof.

The ruling came Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court.

The finding of not criminally responsible for arson resulted in an order sending David Malia, 59, to Riverview Psychiatric Center, the state’s forensic hospital, for treatment.

The other residents of 11 Cedar Court, including two children, escaped from the building unharmed. Many of those residents were in court Tuesday and told the judge they wanted Malia to go to prison, not Riverview.

“It’s not an unusual reaction,” Deputy District Attorney Fernand LaRochelle said. “We have to go by what the evidence is.”

Lisa Whittier, Malia’s defense attorney, said Malia was evaluated by Andrew Wisch, a forensic psychologist, who reported that there was no indication Malia set the fire for antisocial or nonpsychotic reasons.

Whittier said Malia has had a mental illness for a long time.

Malia told fire investigators at the time of the fire that he had lit cardboard on fire in his living room and put it on a couch and bookcase area in his living room in an attempt to commit suicide.

Malia was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center, where he was treated for smoke inhalation and later admitted to the hospital’s mental health unit.

According to an affidavit by Kenneth MacMaster, an investigator with the state fire marshal’s office, Malia reportedly told him that he had stopped taking his medication two months before the fire and came to believe that people living in the building were injecting poison into the water to kill him, so he decided to kill himself by smoke inhalation.

“Malia could see the smoke in his bedroom and sat on the bed, waiting to die from smoke inhalation,” MacMaster wrote. “Malia said he could see the smoke in his bedroom banking down and could hear people attempting to rescue him. Malia said he did not respond, still wanting to die.”

A firefighter found Malia and took him out of the building.

Also, sentenced recently in Kennebec County Superior Court were:

• Brittney A. Doughty, 23, formerly of Vassalboro and now of Portland, operating under the influence June 30, 2012, in China; 364-day jail sentence, all but 90 days suspended (credit for time served), one-year administrative release, $500 fine, 30-day license suspension.

• David W. Knox, 47, of Augusta, criminal mischief and criminal threatening May 15 in Randolph; 364-day jail sentence, all but 12 days suspended, one-year administrative release.

• Mark A. McNaughton, 55, of Farmingdale, reckless conduct March 22, 2013, in Farmingdale; $500 fine, all suspended.

• Wayneworth C. Walcott, 37, of Mount Vernon, N.Y., assault Nov. 26, 2006, in Waterville; 48-hour jail sentence, $300 fine.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.