BANGOR, Maine — A local transient who has a criminal history that dates back to when he was 11 has been arrested and charged with setting a fire in an abandoned two-story house and attached barn that went up in flames on Dec. 20, Sgt. Paul Edwards said Thursday.
Justin Landry, 21, was arrested at a Moosehead Boulevard address around noon Wednesday and charged with felony arson. He faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 if convicted of the crime.
District Court Judge E. Mary Kelly set Landry’s bail Thursday in his first appearance at the Penobscot Judicial Center at $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety, according to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office.
Bail conditions include no contact with the juveniles Landry allegedly was with when the fire started, no possession of alcohol or intoxicants, no possession of incendiary devices, and abiding by a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.
A resident who lives east of the fire scene, across Kenduskeag Stream, called 911 around 6:15 p.m. Dec. 20 to report thick, black smoke, and firefighters found a house ablaze at the end of Pushaw Road Extension, which is off Finson Road.
Bangor Assistant Fire Chief A.C. Bostock said the house, which had not been lived in for quite some time, was in flames when firefighters arrived.
Officials from the State Fire Marshal’s Office and Bangor Fire Department quickly determined that the fire had been set intentionally.
Edwards said Thursday that “evidence was recovered” from the fire scene, but he could not release what it was.
The empty house and barn were destroyed in the blaze.
Landry has an extensive criminal background, according to Bangor Daily News archives and records obtained Thursday from the Maine State Bureau of Identification and from Edwards.
In 2001, when he was 11 years old, Landry brought a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun to Enfield Station Elementary School and fired off a shot in the school’s restroom, according to BDN files.
Landry, a fifth-grader at the time, was charged with two felonies — reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and possessing a firearm on public school property.
In a plea agreement, he admitted to both charges, but the firearm possession count was dismissed. He was sentenced in Lincoln District Court to the Maine Youth Center until age 15, with all but 12 days suspended. He also was expelled from school for a year.
In addition to Wednesday’s felony arson charge, Landry also had two outstanding warrants from Lincoln for unpaid fines associated with theft and operating after suspension, Edwards said.
Landry has convictions from 2008 and 2009 for theft, unlawful possession of drugs, violating conditions of release, and minor transporting liquor. This year he was convicted in June of disorderly conduct and in August of operating under the influence.
Landry was taken to the Penobscot County Jail after his arrest on Wednesday and remained there Thursday night.