AUGUSTA — Christopher Balcer wasn’t aware that his brother was having a gender identity crisis at the time the teen is accused of killing their parents and says the contention made in court proceedings that Alice and Antonio Balcer would not have supported their youngest son “is just not true.”

Christopher Balcer, 26, was the only other person in their Winthrop home last Halloween morning when his then-17-year-old brother, Andrew Balcer, allegedly killed their mother and father and the family dog, sparing Christopher only when he pleaded for his life.

“He has my full support and I wish him the best of luck in his struggles,” Christopher Balcer said during a phone interview Thursday morning as a two-day hearing concerning whether his brother, now 18, should be tried as an adult was coming to a close.

Despite that support, Christopher Balcer believes his brother should be tried as an adult. Andrew Balcer’s defense attorney, Walter Mckee, is arguing that he should be tried in the juvenile court system.

“The idea that he was not criminally liable for his actions because of his age, it’s preposterous,” Christopher Balcer said. “And the fact that Mr. McKee is even trying to do this – I don’t know what he’s doing, I don’t know anything about the legal system – but it flummoxes me that the man is even trying.”

Christopher Balcer, who did not attend either day of the hearing, said he wasn’t aware that his brother was experiencing any gender confusion or depression.

“But that does not absolve him of any guilt,” he said, “and any statements made that somehow this family would have been anything less than the most supportive is an utter falsehood. Our family made our problems their problems, no matter what.”

By the end of Thursday’s hearing, a judge ruled that there was probable cause to believe that Andrew Balcer “executed” his parents. District Court Judge Eric Walker now will decide whether the teen, who is in custody at Long Creek Youth Development Center, should be tried as an adult, as prosecutors have argued. He has been charged with two counts of intentional or knowing murder.

McKee didn’t contest the charges against Andrew Balcer, who was just shy of his 18th birthday when his parents, both 47, were stabbed to death a year ago. Instead, McKee argued that his client’s case should remain in the juvenile justice system.

McKee used the testimony of a psychologist, a correctional worker and a grandparent to suggest that Andrew Balcer probably attacked his parents because he was having a gender identity crisis, was worried about their reaction to it and eventually “snapped,” a word the teen used during a 911 call to report that he had killed his parents.

But Christopher Balcer, who now lives in Augusta and is a student at the University of Maine at Augusta, questioned McKee’s contention about his brother’s gender confusion, and said that if Andrew Balcer had been going through such an experience, his parents would have rallied to his side.

Christopher Balcer also said that while his parents periodically had loud arguments, the family members were close to each other and “there was no abuse.”

Alice Balcer, commonly known as Ali, met her husband Antonio, or Tony, while they were in the U.S. Coast Guard.

She worked at the Kennebec Valley Humane Society and the Winthrop Veterinary Hospital, and according to her obituary, “she fiercely loved her family, including her two sons, husband” and other relatives.

Antonio Balcer was the chaplain in several regional motorcycle groups, often officiating at weddings and services, and earning the nickname “Rev.”

“He spread his love for and relationship with the Lord through gentle prayer, providing guidance and support to those around him,” his obituary said.

In court this week, a state forensic psychologist hinted at some of the tension that might have existed between Andrew Balcer and his father.

The psychologist, Debra Baeder, testified that she had evaluated Andrew Balcer several times. On one occasion, he recounted an argument with his father that happened after Antonio Balcer reportedly made a derogatory comment about a transgender person.

Andrew Balcer “thought it could get physically confrontational if his father knew” about his own struggles, she said. At another point, Baeder said, Andrew Balcer was suicidal and “harbored some homicidal inclinations toward his parents.”

Though many of Andrew Balcer’s relatives have supported him since the killings, Christopher Balcer has shunned his brother since the early hours of Oct. 31, 2016. After hearing someone yell on that cold fall morning, Christopher Balcer came upstairs from his basement bedroom and discovered a ghastly scene.

“I saw my father lying on his back in a pool of his own blood, breathing very slowly, and my brother standing over him with a knife,” he told the Kennebec Journal in an interview last winter.

Christopher Balcer ran back down into the basement and tried to dial 911. He was soon followed by Andrew Balcer, who carried a Ka-Bar knife and a handgun that belonged to their father. After Christopher begged for his life, Andrew Balcer let his brother flee, he told detectives in a recorded interview that was played in court this week.

While Christopher Balcer remains close with his other relatives, he’s had no contact with his brother and doesn’t wish to.

“I hope that he goes to jail,” he said, “and I hope he doesn’t come back.”

Charles Eichacker can be contacted at 621-5642 or at:

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Twitter: ceichacker

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