Lewiston arson suspect ordered for psych exam for third time

Brian Morin
Androscoggin County Jail
Brian Morin
Posted Aug. 28, 2013, at 6:49 a.m.

AUBURN, Maine — A judge has ordered a Lewiston man charged with arson in Lewiston fires last spring to Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta a third time for a psychological evaluation.

Brian Morin, 30, of 35 Jefferson St. is at Androscoggin County Jail awaiting a bed at the state hospital for observation and treatment.

Morin’s attorney, Richard Charest, filed a motion in Androscoggin County Superior Court last week seeking a follow-up mental exam for his client. He wrote that Morin “has severe mental health problems” and is reporting that he is “hallucinating and hearing voices.”

Morin was evaluated by a psychologist after his indictment on three counts of arson stemming from a fire that destroyed two vacant apartment buildings on Bartlett Street and damaged an occupied building on Horton Street on May 6.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges last month.

His co-defendant, Bryan Wood Jr., 23, of 131 Bartlett St., Lewiston, was found not competent to stand trial earlier this month and was released from Androscoggin County Jail.

Charest wrote in June motions that Morin was found incompetent to stand trial in past legal proceedings and “has a hard time grasping many of the legal concepts needed to participate in his defense.”

His second evaluation was aimed at determining his mental state at the time of the crime in an effort to seek an insanity defense.

Prosecutors have not argued against the evaluations.

Morin has been held at Androscoggin County Jail in lieu of $350,000 cash bail. If released, he is to have no contact with Wood and Wood’s former girlfriend. He also is not to have incendiary devices.

Charest recently filed a motion to suppress statements Morin made to investigators with state and local law enforcement.

In a police affidavit, Morin said he and Wood had stood on a street corner and talked about setting the buildings on fire. He said he and Wood walked to the rear of one of the buildings where Wood pulled from his coat pocket a can of Butane lighter fluid.

Morin said Wood stood on the back porch of the building and sprayed the lighter fluid onto something that was black. Wood lit the lighter fluid, then went to a second building, Morin said, according to the affidavit.

Morin said he took a cushion from a couch at the rear of the second building and put it on the deck at the stairs that led to the ground. He said Wood sprayed lighter fluid on the cushion and lit it using a black Butane lighter that belonged to Wood’s girlfriend. Morin said Wood threw a second cushion on the first one.

The two then left.

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