SKOWHEGAN — A Canaan man charged with multiple counts for a September fire that killed seven pets and destroyed a home has been indicted by a Somerset County grand jury.

Matthew Dale Short II, 30, of Browns Corner Road in Canaan, is charged with burglary, aggravated cruelty to animals and two counts of arson for allegedly setting fire to a neighbor’s home Sept. 21. The house was destroyed and three cats and four dogs died in the fire.

Acquaintances told police that Short “didn’t like the guys” who lived there because of what he believes their sexuality to be, according to an affidavit filed after Short was charged.

Short was arrested in March and told police after the fire that the owners previously lived in the trailer he and his girlfriend occupied on Browns Corner Road, but that he didn’t know the owners 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.

But several acquaintances told police that “Short didn’t like the guys based on their sexuality” and that he had set the fire, the affidavit said.

Also indicted on arson charges in a separate case was Peter E. Gary, 63, of Water Street, Skowhegan. Gary is charged in connection with a fire Oct. 26 that allegedly began in his apartment. The 11-unit apartment house at 378 Water St. opposite Coburn Park was evacuated. A firefighter was sent to the hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and later was released to go back to work.


Gary also is charged with violating the conditions of his release on a previous arrest.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt, but an indication that there is enough evidence for a trial.

Also indicted by the grand jury were the following people:

• Jason A. Dostie, 34, of Benton, charged with operating after revocation Jan. 18 in Fairfield.

• Michaela E. Higgins, 18, of Madison, charged with burglary, theft, violating conditions of release and unsworn falsification Jan. 11 in Canaan.

• Climmiette Jordan, 40, of Spokane, Washington, charged with assault and aggravated assault April 11 in Madison.


• Paul K. Legasse, 36, of Skowhegan, charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, domestic violence assault, unlawful sexual touching, violation of conditions of release and obstructing the report of a crime or injury April 3 in Skowhegan.

• Ross C. Liberty, 23, of Fairfield, charged with burglary, nine counts of theft and theft by deception between Dec. 21 and Dec. 28 in Fairfield.

• Bryan E. Mason, 21, of Plymouth, charged with burglary and three counts of theft Sept. 3 and Oct. 3 in St. Albans and Canaan.

• Bryan E. Mason, 21, of Plymouth, charged with burglary and two counts of theft Oct. 10 in St. Albans.

• Ronald Mayo, 46, of Skowhegan, charged with domestic violence assault Dec. 2 in Skowhegan.

• Eric M. McCarthy, 32, of St. Albans, charged with two counts of theft Oct. 21 and Jan. 6 in St. Albans.


• Amanda McGraw, 33, of Hartland, charged with theft between June 2 and Sept. 1 in Pittsfield.

• Anthony J. Nicholas, 39, of Fairfield, charged with aggravated assault, domestic violence terrorizing and domestic violence assault March 14 in Fairfield.

• Michael A. Nichols, Jr., 27, of Madison, charged with five counts of burglary and seven counts of theft between Nov. 1 and Jan. 16 in Starks.

• Joshua A. Phifer, 27, of Bridgton, charged with two counts of aggravated assault and domestic violence assault March 8 in Skowhegan.

• Joshua A. Phifer, 27, of Bridgton, charged with assault on an officer and disorderly conduct March 14 in Madison.

• Jessica M. Roderick, 33, of Madison, charged with three counts of violating conditions of release April 5 and April 7 in Cornville.


• Duane E. Sawyer, 42, of Skowhegan, charged with two counts of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs March 9 in Skowhegan.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367


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