June 23, 2018
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Arson charges dropped against Millinocket man for home fire

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — A Millinocket man charged with two counts of arson pleaded no contest to reckless conduct Monday at the Penobscot Judicial Center in connection with two fires at his home Oct. 6 and 7, 2008.

Michael Brannon, 34, did not appear in court. His attorney, N. Laurence Willey Jr. of Bangor, entered the plea on his behalf.

The arson charges were dismissed.

Superior Court Justice William Anderson found Brannon guilty of the Class D misdemeanor. The judge accepted the sentencing recommendation of Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, who prosecuted the case.

Anderson ordered Brannon to pay a $500 fine and restitution of $1,727 to the Millinocket Fire Department for the cost of putting out the two fires. The restitution was paid before Brannon’s plea was entered.

The maximum sentence for a Class D crime is up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. The maximum sentence for arson, a Class A crime, is up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Roberts and Willey both said after the sentencing that the outcome was good for both sides.

Willey told the judge that his client’s independent investigator concluded that the fire started in a bedroom ceiling fan, which then fell onto a bed and set a bedspread on fire.

The second fire started the next day in same area, the attorney said.

“My client was remodeling the house and there were problems with the wiring,” Willey said. “Nothing was set on fire intentionally.”

The attorney said that Brannon is a merchant mariner and a conviction for arson would destroy his career.

“Given that the fires were limited in scope and Mr. Brannon paid restitution for suppression, this seemed an appropriate disposition,” Roberts said.

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