LEWISTON — The aunt of a 12-year-old local boy charged with three counts of arson said Monday she doesn't think her nephew committed the arsons.
"I don't really think he could have," Ami Reilly said at 8th District Court. "I don't see Brody (Covey) as that type of child."
Covey had lived with Reilly two years ago for several months when she had temporary custody of him, she said. She characterized him as a good student. He never showed an interest in fire or anything having to do with fire, even refusing to get close to the stove, she said.
"Brody was a really good kid," she said. "He was never in trouble. Always went to church."
She said she thinks the multiple arson charges are "really bogus."
She said she brought him food the day of the fire at 105 Blake St. and again the day after, when he was staying with friends.
She hadn't seen him much lately, she said, since he was living with his mother's boyfriend in the condemned building at Blake Street. She said he didn't want to live there.
Covey is a seventh-grade student at Lewiston Middle School. He was represented in court Monday by local attorney Alan Lobozzo. Covey is facing three counts of felony arson in connection with a fire intentionally set at the back of 105 Blake St. last Monday. Covey lived there on the second floor with his mother, Jessica Reilly, and her live-in boyfriend, Charles Epps, and three siblings.
Covey is one of two 12-year-old boys, each arrested on multiple counts of arson in connection with two separate fires set in the downtown last week, who made their respective initial appearances on detention hearings in 8th District Court on Monday afternoon.
The hearings were closed to the public by Judge John Beliveau, who said juvenile proceedings are private unless a juvenile petition has been filed against a defendant charged with a felony.
A Monday fire destroyed the Blake Street apartment building, and properties on Pine and Bates streets.
The family, which had been ordered to leave the Blake Street property, had filed a temporary restraining order to be allowed to remain in their apartment until a court hearing that had been scheduled for this Wednesday.
The Red Cross placed the family temporarily at the Ramada Inn.
The second boy, who has not yet been identified, is being represented by Lewiston attorney Jeffrey Dolley, who was meeting in court Monday afternoon with a Somali family and an interpreter. That boy was arrested on four felony counts of arson in connection with a fire that destroyed two buildings on Pierce Street and two buildings on Bartlett Street late Friday night.
Although the court released Covey's name to the Sun Journal on Friday, it declined to release the name of the second defendant on Monday.
"We're working on something right now that's going to be a suitable plan for the community and the child," Dolley said after the hearing.
At Monday's hearing, Assistant District Attorney Melanie Portas said she hadn't received the complete police reports that she must have in order to file juvenile petitions against the boys, formalizing the charges.
The boys, who have each been detained at Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland since their arrests, made their separate appearances for detention hearings to determine whether they will be returned to the juvenile facility or released in the custody of a guardian.
Neither child left the courthouse with their relatives on Monday.
They will both be arraigned on the respective charges on Monday, May 13, in 8th District Court, when they are expected to deny the charges. State law requires those appearances to be open to the public.