Wednesday, December 18, 2013
By Betty Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUSTA -- A 14-year-old girl originally charged with arson and criminal mischief in connection with a fire in a toilet at Cony middle school pleaded guilty to the lesser charge on Thursday and was placed on juvenile probation.
As a result, the charge of arson against Miranda Brann of Augusta was dismissed by the state.
Brann's attorney, Pam Ames, said that both she and the prosecutor recently received a photo showing the extent of the damage to be two smudges on the underside of a toilet seat.
"At the time of the original charges, (the district attorney's office) had no idea how little damage there was," Ames said.
Because the arson charge -- which would be a felony if an adult were charged -- was dismissed, the hearing took place behind closed doors in Augusta District Court. The prosecutor was Assistant District Attorney David Jackson.
Maine law allows juveniles accused of felony crimes to be identified in public court records when prosecutors file a petition with the court. Filing a petition is similar to filing a criminal complaint against an adult.
The incident was reported to Augusta Police at 11 a.m. on March 26 as a Cony student trying to ignite items placed inside a bathroom toilet. At the time, police reported the minor damage was confined to the toilet seat.
Augusta police said the girl was carrying a lighter when confronted by officers later that day.
Firefighters were not called, and it did not appear that the school was evacuated.
After an initial hearing May 10 in the same court, Brann was released to the custody of her parents with conditions that she attend school and counseling and abide by house rules. She was banned from having incendiary devices.
Betty Adams -- 621-5631