SKOWHEGAN — A Canaan man accused of setting his neighbors’ house on fire in September and killing their pets allegedly did not like the men because of their sexuality, according to an affidavit filed in Skowhegan District Court.

Matthew Short told police after the fire that Aldo Baldie and Ron Pelletier previously lived in the trailer he and his girlfriend occupied on Browns Corner Road, but that he didn’t know them and did not set their home on fire, according to the affidavit by Jeremy Damren, a police officer with the Office of Maine State Fire Marshal.

Yet several acquaintances, including one woman who told police that Short “didn’t like the guys based on their sexuality,” told police that Short had set the fire.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Monday that Short lived near Baldie and Pelletier and that the men knew each other as neighbors. He said he had no information regarding Baldie and Pelletier’s sexuality or whether the fire was being investigated as a hate crime.

Baldie and Pelletier, who couldn’t be reached for comment Monday, were at an Alcoholics Anonymous celebration for a friend at the time of the fire Sept. 21 and came home to find their trailer at 289 Browns Corner Road destroyed. Their three cats and four dogs died in the fire.

Short, 30, was arrested earlier this month and charged with arson, burglary and aggravated cruelty to animals. He entered no plea during an initial court appearance last week and is being held on $35,000 cash bail.


On the day of the fire, Short said he got a phone call from his girlfriend, Sheena Moshier, who told him $150 was missing from their residence and that she had found a pack of cigarettes — the same type that Baldie and Pelletier smoked — in their trailer, according to the affidavit.

Short told at least two acquaintances that he beat the men up over the missing money and one acquaintance that he set the trailer on fire, the affidavit said.

Baldie and Pelletier, in an interview with police, said they were never assaulted by anyone the night of the fire and that they do not know Short.

Short is next scheduled to appear in court April 27.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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