WATERVILLE — The state has probable cause to charge one former Colby College student in connection with a dumpster fire investigated as arson on May 22 at the college, and may be charging as many as three more, according to Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney.

The former student allegedly set off a firecracker inside the 20-cubic-yard dumpster, which was loaded with furniture and others item, igniting the fire. Maloney said Friday that two other former students named by that student have come forward with their attorneys. A fourth student believed to be involved hasn’t come forward or retained an attorney.

The state is offering plea deals to all the students and is awaiting their decisions, Maloney said. The names of the four, all of whom graduated May 22, were not released because they haven’t been charged. Maloney said once the case goes to court, the names and other details will be released.

Jonathan Sdao was charged with assault for allegedly throwing a red Solo cup of beer at a police officer at an earlier bonfire and ensuing melee that day. Maloney also said charges against him still are pending.

The dumpster fire was reported at 4:30 a.m. May 22, a few hours before the school’s commencement ceremony. The state fire marshal’s office said at the time that two students probably would be charged with arson. No charges aside from the ones Maloney anticipates have been brought, however.

The dumpster fire started a few hours after a crowd of more than 200 people at the bonfire at the senior dormitory reportedly taunted and threw items at firefighters and police called to the scene.


The bonfire melee was not related to the dumpster fire and the three arson suspects are being looked at only in relation to the dumpster fire, Maloney said.

“I want this to be clear,” Maloney said. “No students were ever identified and law enforcement has no leads (on the bonfire). There is no information on who set (the bonfire).”

Firefighters were called to the bonfire scene around 1 a.m. They encountered students drinking alcohol and burning furniture and other items. Some students were aggressive toward firefighters and police, Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey said at the time. He said the students were unruly enough that firefighters were afraid to approach the fire until police arrived.

Sdao, 24, of Niwot, Colorado, a member of the class of 2016, was arrested at the bonfire and did not participate in graduation exercises later that day, college officials said at the time. Sdao pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault in connection with the incident.

Colby officials said in May they intended to investigate the bonfire and the behavior surrounding it, but a college spokeswoman Friday said she didn’t have any information the results of the investigation or whether any students were disciplined.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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