April 26, 2013

Maine murder suspect silent during first court appearance

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The New York man who is accused of murdering Margarita Fisenko Scott, whose body was found in her vehicle in a motel parking lot, made his initial court appearance Friday.

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Flanked by attorneys Peter Cyr and Dylan Boyd, Anthony Pratt, 19, of Far Rockaway, N.Y., made his initial appearance in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court in Portland on Friday to face a charge of murder for the death of Margarita Fisenko Scott, whose body was found last January in Portland.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

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Margarita Fisenko Scott

Contributed Family Photo

Anthony Pratt Jr., 19, of Queens, N.Y., said nothing at his appearance in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court and was not required to enter a plea.

Pratt, dressed in an orange jail uniform, stood between his attorneys, Peter Cyr and Dylan Boyd, as Scott's husband and family members sat silently in the spectator seats behind him.

Police say Pratt killed Scott, 29, of Westbrook, with a single gunshot in the first-floor apartment at 266 West Concord St. in Portland on Nov. 11, weeks before her body was found in the back of her 2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer in the parking lot of the Motel 6 on Riverside Street.

Scott's estranged husband, Cary Scott, found the SUV on Jan. 17, covered in snow. He brushed off the snow, got in and then saw his wife's body in the back seat, police have said.

Justice Joyce Wheeler ordered the affidavit supporting the warrant for Pratt's arrest to remain sealed pending a grand jury hearing. She ordered Pratt held without bail until a bail hearing and formal arraignment on May 14.

Wheeler met with Pratt's attorneys and the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese, before the hearing and all agreed to have the police document that outlines the allegations against Pratt sealed until the next court date, Cyr said.

Cyr said after the hearing that the case against Pratt has "some holes" and that Pratt agreed to come to Maine from New York to fight the charge. "He's innocent of this charge," he said.

Cyr said it's unclear how long Scott's body was in the SUV and how long the vehicle sat unnoticed in the motel parking lot.

"There's going to be some issue with the time of death. That's going to need some expert testimony," he said.

Cyr said Thursday that the people who lived in the Portland apartment where police say Margarita Fisenko Scott was shot had no idea that she had died in their home.

"We're going to challenge all the state's evidence," he said Thursday. "It appears to be a circumstantial case. There does not appear to be any witnesses."

Pratt was arrested in New York City on April 2 and was held in custody there before being brought to Portland on Wednesday.

Police have said Pratt and Scott were dating and both occasionally stayed at the apartment on West Concord Street, although neither was a tenant. Pratt came to Maine frequently from New York, but police say they don't know his connection to this state.

They say they have found the gun that was used in the shooting but it was not found at the apartment. The gun had been stolen in a burglary in central Maine and then sold, but police would not say whether Pratt was the buyer.

The apartment's tenants moved out before police began investigating there, and the apartment was renovated, Cyr said.

"There's a period of time where no one knows what happened," he said. "Mr. Pratt wasn't even around for any of that time."

Cyr said he is prepared to hire experts to look into ballistics, blood spatter traces and pathology, and to analyze bullet entry and exit wounds.

"The state is alleging they had to re-create the crime scene from a renovated apartment," he said.

Scott's family emigrated from Kazakhstan to the Portland area. She moved to Maine when she was 14 and graduated from Portland High School.

Her family members have said that Scott was in almost daily contact with her parents, Vladmir and Larisa Fisenko of Westbrook, before she disappeared. Her family, including her husband, contacted police in Westbrook and Portland after she disappeared, and reported her vehicle missing.

Family members who appeared in court Friday declined to speak with reporters.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at

sdolan@pressherald.com

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