BOWDOINHAM — The president of Central Maine Community College and a local sheriff said this week they are concerned that a Bowdoinham man charged Monday with threatening to “shoot up” CMCC was released after paying a $60 bail commissioner fee.
Police arrested Darren Lilly, 23, on Monday evening and charged him with terrorizing with a dangerous weapon, a felony punishable by up to five years incarceration and a $5,000 fine.
Lilly was granted $1,000 unsecured bond, meaning he only has to pay the money if he does not show up for court. On Monday, he paid the $60 fee to secure his release.
CMCC President Scott Knapp said Tuesday he was concerned Lilly was not in police custody. He said the Auburn Police Department is providing an additional police presence at the college’s expense.
According to the Sagadahoc County Sheriff ’s Office, people Lilly knows said he threatened to “shoot up” the college and that he had numerous firearms. He had been accepted as a student to the college last fall.
Police say deputies seized Lilly’s weapons, a mix of handguns, rifles and shotguns, including a sawed-off shotgun.
Sheriff Joel Merry said his department has fielded questions about the bail amount, which he said is set by the bail commissioner based on several criteria: Whether the person has any prior criminal record, is facing unrelated charges in other cases or is considered a flight risk all play a factor.
A background check showed Lilly did not have a prior criminal history in Maine, but Merry said the bail gave him pause.
“I was a little bit taken aback myself when I saw what would be, in my opinion, considered a very low bail given the seriousness of the alleged offense and the circumstances surrounding it,” he said.
“Particularly because the individual had demonstrated the capacity to potentially execute the threat that he had made. And we’ll never know if it was just boastful talking or if he actually did have a plan to do something very terrible.”
Merry said words have consequences, and in this case Lilly allegedly made some statements that caused alarm — enough so that they alerted the Sheriff ’s Office. Deputies found Lilly had the means to carry out the threat.
“You add all that together,” Merry said, “and you’ve got some reason for concern.”
He noted the primary function of bail is to ensure an individual will show up to court on a certain date to answer charges. And while there are some rigid guidelines on certain offenses, bail commissioners have broad discretion and the bail process can be highly subjective, according to Merry.
“But bail can be used to protect the public,” he said . “We see it all the time, particularly in cases of domestic violence. There have been changes in bail code over the years for that purpose — to protect the victim.”
The bail will likely be reviewed by the judge at Lilly’s arraignment.
As a condition of his bail, Lilly is not allowed to possess firearms or be in the city of Auburn.
“I know he’s being closely monitored,” Merry said. “We intend to keep a very close eye on Mr. Lilly while he’s out, until this case is resolved.”
Efforts to reach Lilly were unsuccessful, and it was unclear Thursday if he has a lawyer.
Hunter Brooks of Brunswick says he knew Lilly while the two were students at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham. He was shocked when he heard the news of Lilly’s arrest.
“I don’t really see him doing that,” Brooks said, “so I don’t know what set him off.”
Lilly was never a violent person, Brooks said, and would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need.
“Through school, he would never even get into a fight,” he said. “He would always walk away.”
Lilly is scheduled to appear in West Bath District Court on Sept. 11.
Darren Lilly, charged with threatening to “shoot up” Central Maine Community College, was free after paying $60 for a bail commissioner fee.