AUGUSTA — Seventeen-year-old Andrew Balcer, charged with murdering both his parents Oct. 31 in their Winthrop home, was told Thursday that if the state succeeds in having him prosecuted as an adult, he faces 25 years to life in prison on each count.

If he were convicted as a juvenile, he could be held in a juvenile facility until age 21.

Balcer told Judge Eric Walker that he understood.

Balcer, a Winthrop High School senior, was at the Capital Judicial Center on Thursday to be told formally of the charges related to the slayings at 10 Pine Knoll Road. Winthrop police first went to the home after receiving emergency calls at 1:45 a.m. When they arrived, they found the bodies of Antonio and Alice Balcer, both 47. Police have not said how they died, and a judge has sealed documents related to the case.

Balcer and his older brother, Christopher, were both at home at the time of the killings, police said.

At the court proceeding, Walker explained it was not an arraignment, and that Balcer could admit or deny the charges or enter “no answer.” Through his attorney, Walter McKee, Balcer entered “no answer” to the two charges of intentional or knowing murder that are listed on the juvenile petition. The judge said he would enter denials on Bacler’s behalf. Responses to juvenile charges are different from those in the adult criminal justice system.

Walker continued his order keeping Balcer in custody at Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland, where he has been held since his arrest hours after his parents’ bodies were found.

Details about the slayings are unavailable. Walker on Thursday agreed to McKee’s request to keep documents in the case impounded because Balcer is a juvenile.

Previously, the state, through Assistant Attorney General Megan Elam, requested a hearing to determine whether Balcer can be tried as an adult. That requires a forensic evaluation, among other things, and McKee said that evaluation is set for Dec. 7.

On Thursday, Walker said, “We’re in a little bit of a holding pattern until that occurs.” He said the next hearing probably would take place in late January 2017 after the forensic evaluation report was received. At that point, Walker said, he would set a date for a hearing on the state’s request to treat Balcer — who turns 18 on Dec. 3 — as an adult.

His court appearance comes just two days before a funeral home visitation for his parents is set to take place in Augusta.

His father, Antonio Balcer, retired in 2012 as a chief warrant officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. Alice Balcer also served in the Coast Guard, which is where they met 25 years ago, according to their obituaries.

Antonio Balcer was active in local motorcycle groups and known locally as “the Rev” for serving as chaplain and officiating at weddings. Alice Balcer worked at Winthrop Veterinary Hospital, and before that at the Kennebec Valley Humane Society shelter in Augusta. She was an outdoor enthusiast.

On Thursday, Assistant Attorney General Bud Ellis represented the state and said afterward that Elam and he both will be working on the case.

In the meantime, Walker agreed to a further 60-day impoundment of the affidavit, saying his intent is to release the document to the public and the news media after that. If Balcer can be treated as an adult, it is likely more details about the crime will be available.

On Wednesday, Walker denied a media request to allow photographs or an electronic recording of the initial appearance, citing an administrative order of the court, and he repeated that in court on Thursday.

The hearing was open to the public, and several members of Balcer’s family attended. However, only about 15 people were in the spectators’ benches, far fewer than at a Nov. 1 hearing, when Walker outlined the steps in the proceedings to Balcer.

On Thursday, Balcer wore a dark blue, short-sleeved shirt over a white T-shirt and dark blue pants. He was escorted into the courtroom by several deputies and sat between McKee and attorney Matthew Morgan.

“I think he clearly knows what’s going on,” McKee said in a brief interview outside the courthouse after the hearing. “It’s a lot to manage all at once.” McKee said he is not surprised at the state’s effort to try Balcer as an adult, but added, “We’re going to take it very slowly.”

McKee said he himself has only a two-page affidavit detailing why police believe Balcer should be charged with the crime. He said the state has hundreds of other documents, some of which will need to be shared with the forensic psychologist.

McKee, too, has been in touch with Balcer’s relatives. He said it is “incredibly awkward,” since they are trying to support Andrew Balcer while grieving for Antonio and Alice Balcer.

McKee and Morgan were escorted on the short walk from their office at 133 State St. to the courthouse by Lt. Robert Annese, a deputy with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office who is in charge of court security. McKee said he was told it was a security issue.

Annese said only, “It was a precaution.”

Ellis also spoke briefly outside the courthouse. He said the evaluation of Balcer “will delve into a variety of issues” and that the state will continue to ask that Balcer’s case be handled in adult court.

“It’s been our position that it’s the appropriate forum,” he said.

He also said the investigation was continuing, including a lot of laboratory work. Neither McKee nor Ellis would say how the Balcers were killed.

Visitation for victims Antonio and Alice Balcer is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Plummer Funeral Home in Augusta.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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