SKOWHEGAN — Bail was set at $1,000 each Wednesday for two brothers from Waterville accused of torching a car in June in Madison with a homemade Molotov cocktail over a dispute involving stolen marijuana plants.

Alexis Casey, 25, and his brother Zachary Casey, 22, of Hathaway Street, Waterville, are charged with class A counts of arson, punishable by up to 30 years in prison if they are convicted. The pair were arrested Tuesday on a warrant based on a court affidavit filed by Jeremy Damren, an investigator with the Office of State Fire Marshal.

A police affidavit alleges the brothers wanted to get even with a man they believed had stolen marijuana plants from a legal grow operation. They allegedly obtained an empty 40-once Hurricane beer bottle, filled it with gasoline and, after breaking a car window with a rock, tossed the bottle inside, burning the car completely. They used an old sock as a wick for the fire bomb, according to the affidavit.

Investigators found the empty beer bottle that smelled of gasoline, a Bic lighter and a rock that they say broke the window of the car, a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt. The car was owned by a Madison woman, but the target was her boyfriend, who is out on bail for burglaries but who has not been charged with anything in connection with the alleged arson, according to the investigator’s affidavit.

Madison firefighters extinguished the fire before it could spread to a nearby three-unit apartment house, where all of the occupants were inside sleeping about 3:30 a.m. June 9. The car was 5 feet away from the building.

Madison Fire Chief Don French told investigators that when he arrived at the scene, there was a small fire in the rear seat of the Cobalt; but by the time he could get a hose to the fire, there were flames coming out of the car’s window, the affidavit states.

The fire was determined to have been set deliberately, prompting the warrants for the arrest of the two men. The car had been parked on Middle Street in Madison, according to the affidavit.

A month before the fire, Zachary Casey reportedly told people at a party they all had attended in Highland Plantation that he was angry at a woman’s boyfriend for stealing what he thought was about $2,000 worth of marijuana plants and “he was going to burn (his) car with a Molotov cocktail,” according to the affidavit.

In interviews with the fire marshal’s office as the investigation continued into October, Alexis Casey initially said he had no knowledge of the fire but later recanted, saying he had lied about their involvement to protect his brother, the affidavit states. He later told investigators that his brother had been drinking and that he — Alexis — broke the car window with a rock and Zachary lit the bottle with a piece of cloth, the affidavit states. They had driven from Waterville to their father’s house in Madison, where they got the gasoline, according to the document.

Zachary later said the same thing, telling the investigators that it was his idea to torch the car, not his brother’s. Investigators began interviews with people known to the Caseys and to the fire victims, ruling out suspects, beginning the day of the fire in June, through the rest of the summer and finally until Oct. 3, when they interviewed the Casey brothers.

“Zachary said that he lit the sock, threw the bottle in the back seat and left,” Damren wrote in the affidavit. “Zachary said the back of the car was on fire. Zachary said that they went back to Waterville and he has not told anyone since.”

Neither brother entered a plea during their first appearances Wednesday before District Court Judge Valerie Stanfill in Skowhegan. They were represented by attorney Phil Mohlar, of Skowhegan, acting as lawyer of the day.

The brothers have a dispositional hearing on their cases scheduled for Nov. 30 in Skowhegan.

County prosecutors in court Wednesday asked for bail to be set at $5,000 on each brother. Mohlar told the judge that the brothers are not a flight risk. He said both attended Madison Area High School, that they have many family members in the area and that their father runs a market in Anson. He asked for $1,000 bail.

The judge agreed, adding that they must abide by a curfew from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m., they must not possess alcohol or illegal drugs and they must have no contact with the people involved in the alleged arson. Stanfill also imposed a condition that the brothers not possess incendiary devices, including matches and cigarette lighters.

Zachary Casey requested that the judge relent, noting that he is a smoker and would need to have matches with him.

The judge declined. “As of right now, you have quit smoking,” she told him.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow


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