RICHMOND — Days before Robert Jolly was arrested for allegedly setting his mother’s house on fire in Richmond, the 40-year-old was taken into custody in upstate New York for psychiatric treatment.

He had been attempting to drive to Kansas with his daughter, in a car he was not authorized to use, after sending texts threatening to kill himself or engage in a deadly confrontation with police, according to court records.

Once he returned to Maine, police say, Jolly traveled to the home of his mother on the morning of Jan. 4 to demand the return of money he said she had withdrawn from his account. When he could not speak to her, he poured gasoline over the hood of a pickup truck parked in the garage at 6 Arnie Lane and lit it on fire.

The house was destroyed in the blaze and one cat was killed, but Jolly’s mother, her husband and their dogs survived.

According to the criminal complaint on file in a Sagadahoc County court, Jolly is charged with arson, assault and violating a condition of his release on bail in another criminal matter.

Attempts to reach Christopher Ledwick, Jolly’s court-appointed attorney, were unsuccessful Wednesday. 


Jolly had been forbidden to have contact with Richmond town employees; his mother, Laurie Boucher, is the town’s finance director.

In his probable cause affidavit for the warrantless arrest and detention of Jolly, Jeremy Damren, an investigator with the Office of State Fire Marshal, recapped information from other law enforcement officials as well as his own interview with Jolly to describe what happened on the morning of the fire.

According to the affidavit, Jolly had traveled by taxi from MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta, where had been taken the night before for a health evaluation, to his mother’s home in Richmond.

Once there, Jolly was met by his mother’s husband, John Boucher, and asked him to get his mother so he could get his money back. After Boucher refused, Jolly went into the unlocked garage and started the blaze.

Jolly told Damren during the interview that Boucher knocked the gas container away from Jolly, causing more gas to be spilled in the garage. Damren wrote that Jolly said the fire grew quickly, and Jolly walked out of the garage and off the property.

Damren interviewed Jolly at the Richmond Police Department, where he had been detained by Richmond police.


A firefighter walks toward the debris of an Arnie Drive home that was destroyed in a suspected act of arson Jan. 4 in Richmond. Robert Jolly, 40, has been charged in connection with the incident. Courtesy of the Office of State Fire Marshal

A second affidavit on file, by Sgt. Aaron Skofield, details the out-of-state trip which police said also violated the conditions of Jolly’s bail.

In the document, Skofield said Jolly was able to convince his mother to allow him to use her car to go to a doctor’s appointment in Brunswick, while his daughter was visiting him. But rather than go to the doctor’s, Jolly initially took his daughter to Boston to see a wrestling show. Instead of attending the show, they traveled west through New York state until they reached Buffalo, where they apparently ran out of gas.

New York State Police sergeants told Skofield that Jolly was taken into custody for psychiatric treatment after sending texts under his alias, Rob Todd, threatening to take his life in front of his mother or spur a fatal confrontation with police.

Attempts by the Kennebec Journal to independently confirm Jolly’s detention and details of his release were unsuccessful Wednesday, as the public information officer for the Buffalo-area troop of the New York State Police was out of the office.

Skofield wrote that Boucher wanted to press charges for not returning her car, and she filled out a stolen car affidavit, which was entered into the National Crime Information Center. Skofield said Jolly was charged criminally for New York’s equivalent of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

The affidavits in various court cases show that Jolly has a long history with police agencies.

In 2017, Jolly pleaded guilty to a charge of domestic violence criminal threatening after he stabbed the wall of his Randolph residence with a butcher knife following an argument over food.

In one document, Deputy Chad Carleton wrote that Jolly is well known to law enforcement in Sagadahoc County and noted that since 2004, police had documented 183 involvements in the county’s law enforcement record keeping system having to do with his mental health.

In September, he was issued a trespass notice, preventing him from visiting the Richmond Town Office or his mother’s home on Arnie Drive. The following month, he was banned from all town properties, according to Richmond police Chief James Donnell.

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