AUGUSTA — An Oakland man is accused of setting fire to a mattress and tires on Mary Lane, and a court document says he left messages of a sexual nature in several mailboxes in the area.

Jonathan Charles Michaud, 40, made an initial appearance on a charge of arson Tuesday at the Capital Judicial Center via video from the Kennebec County jail.

The arson charge carries a maximum imprisonment of 30 years.

According to an affidavit by investigator Mary MacMaster of the Office of the State Fire Marshal, which was filed at the court, she had been called to Mary Lane after residents reported “unusual items in mailboxes.”

She said she saw an LP gas tank atop burned mattress that were sitting on burned tires.

“There were also three cannisters with fuel left in the mailbox and a fire was lit beneath the cannisters,” MacMaster wrote. “There were several other mailboxes that had been tampered with and others that had materials burned inside them.”

She said notes were found in the mailboxes as well “and most were sexual in nature” and that one note given to police by neighbors “was written by Jonathan Charles Michaud and that he would be found dead in his room.”

MacMaster and Oakland Police officers went to Michaud’s home, she said, and he denied he was thinking of suicide but admitted setting fire to the mattress.

At Michaud’s first court appearance Tuesday via video from the Kennebec County jail, attorney William Baghdoyan, representing Michaud as attorney of the day, requested a mental evaluation for competency.

“I’m not sure he is completely understanding the proceedings,” Bagdoyan told Justice Michaela Murphy. The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Alisa Ross, said the state would support an evaluation, and the judge agreed to order one.

Ross sought bail of $2,500 cash with a Maine Pretrial Services supervision contract and a prohibition on possession of incendiary devices as well as a ban on being at one particular address on Mary Lane.

“This was not a fire to a structure,” Baghdoyan said. “This was a mattress in the driveway that burned a little and went out.”

Baghdoyan said that Michaud lives on the street with his mother, and that she might be able to put up $5,000 or $10,000 worth of property as surety for bail.

Murphy agreed to $2,500 cash or the surety bail with the conditions and a supervisory contract.

Murphy appointed Baghdoyan to represent Michaud in the case and told him to consider requesting a commitment for observation for the competency evaluation if Michaud was unable to post bail.

Michaud is listed as a lifetime registrant on the Maine Sex Offender Registry following a 2004 conviction for unlawful sexual contact with a victim under age 14.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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