A 16-year-old Windham boy accused of sending threatening emails that shut down eight schools in the Windham-Raymond district last month denied two charges of terrorizing during a court appearance Thursday.

Justin Woodbury stood beside his attorney, Ned Chester, in the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland for a hearing that lasted only a couple of minutes.

Chester at first spoke on Woodbury’s behalf, telling Judge Keith Powers that his client would enter a plea denying the felony charges – the juvenile equivalent of a not guilty plea.

Woodbury then spoke for himself, saying, “yes, your honor,” when the judge asked him if that was his plea.

Chester said he agreed with Assistant District Attorney Christine Thibeault, who is prosecuting the case, that Woodbury will continue to be held at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland. He declined to argue for Woodbury’s release, for now.

“If we get some work done, we may pursue that issue at a later date,” Chester told the judge. Woodbury has remained in custody since his arrest Dec. 17.

Woodbury is accused of sending two emails on Dec. 14 to two school administrators, prompting officials to shut down all eight schools in Regional School Unit 14. The shutdown kept 3,300 students out of class for three days and unsettled children and parents in the two towns.

Police have described the email messages received by the superintendent of RSU 14 and the principal of Windham Middle School as serious threats that included references to weapons and expressions of anger. They were also sent in a way to make them hard to trace. Police have said that a firearm was seized from the family’s Windham home, indicating the potential for danger to students.

Although a juvenile, Woodbury’s name was made public in court because of the seriousness of the charges, and the court proceeding was open to the public.

Thibeault, the prosecutor, spoke to reporters outside the courtroom after the hearing and said the next procedural step in the case against Woodbury would be to determine whether he committed the offenses.

Adjudication hearings, the juvenile court equivalent of trials, are rare, she said. More typically, attorneys on both sides come up with a resolution both parties can agree upon.

“I predict that this will probably take some months before the case is done,” Thibeault said. “Our goal is to figure out what services he needs, and that takes time.”

Chester declined comment after the hearing.

Woodbury’s parents, John and Tina Woodbury, sat in the courtroom with several of their son’s friends during the hearing.

They left the courthouse afterward without speaking to reporters.

RSU 14 school officials have denied a request by the Portland Press Herald under the state’s public records law to release copies of the threatening emails Woodbury is accused of sending, citing the ongoing investigation against him.

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