Competency of Lewiston man charged in arson in question

Bryan Wood
Androscoggin County Jail
Bryan Wood
Posted July 31, 2013, at 6:02 a.m.

AUBURN, Maine — A Lewiston man’s competency to stand trial for three counts of arson in a May 6 fire in downtown Lewiston is scheduled to be argued in court Thursday.

A judge ruled Tuesday that certain mental health records for Bryan Wood, 23, of 131 Bartlett St. could be reviewed by prosecutors before the Thursday hearing.

Three forensic psychologists, including the one who conducted a recent court-ordered examination, are expected to testify about Wood’s competency on that day.

The most recent examination relied, in part, on Wood’s documented history of psychological evaluations.

Wood, along with transient Brian Morin, 30, was indicted earlier this month on charges stemming from a fire that destroyed two apartment buildings on Bartlett Street that were under rehabilitation and damaged a third apartment building on Horton Street.

The two have been held on $350,000 cash bail each at Androscoggin County Jail.

If a judge were to determine that Wood is competent to stand trial, he likely would be arraigned that same day.

Morin pleaded not guilty to three counts of arson earlier this month.

In a police affidavit, Morin said the two men started the fire together on the back porch of a nearby apartment building. Wood said Morin started the fire.

Steven Carey, Wood’s attorney, said at his initial appearance in May that his client was “mildly mentally retarded” and may not fully understand the charges against him or all of the legal proceedings.

If the court makes a finding of “not competent,” Wood could be committed back to the custody of a state facility where efforts would be made to assist him in achieving a state of competence.

If the state is unable to bring Wood to that point, he would be committed to the custody of the commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services for a crime of violence, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis said Tuesday.

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