May 13, 2013

Motive for Lewiston fire emerges

By Matt Byrne
Staff Writer

and Scott Dolan
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Brian Morin looks toward co-defendant Bryan Wood, (not pictured) as the two Lewiston men were arraigned Monday, May 13, 2013, in Lewiston District Court on three charges each of arson.

Gabe Souza / Staff Photographer

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Bryan Wood of Lewiston holds his head in his hands before being arraigned on three counts of arson Monday in Lewiston District Court.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

He said Wood's family was in court Monday and his grandmother was ready to put up property to secure his release.

In an affidavit filed hours before the men's court appearance, investigator Young detailed contradictory information that each man provided to police during the investigation.

Morin, in as many as four interviews with police, eventually said he set the blaze with Wood before 3 a.m. on May 6.

Morin's attorney, Richard Charest, argued that Morin does not pose a danger to the community because he was previously questioned and released by police. He was arrested Friday.

Morin told the Portland Press Herald after he was questioned and released last week that he did not set the fires.

Earlier Monday, a woman who said she is Morin's sister said her brother is developmentally delayed and suffers from Tourette syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The sister, who is 28 but did not want to be identified for fear of harassment, said that Morin grew up apart from his siblings, in homes for children with developmental problems, and that she has been a mother figure to him for the past 10 years.

She said that after Morin served prison time for the unlawful sexual conduct in 2002, he lived on the streets, sleeping in basements, in abandoned buildings or with friends.

"He's been homeless a long time," she said in a tearful interview. "He's never gotten help. I couldn't help him."

The two juveniles charged in the earlier fires appeared in court Monday accompanied by their parents or guardians and their attorneys. They said little during the proceedings.

Brody Covey was ordered to have an evaluation, although the nature of the evaluation was not clear and his attorney would not elaborate. Covey and Abdi Ibrahim are being held in the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.

Although both boys are juveniles, Monday's proceedings were held in open court by state law because of the seriousness of the charges, which would be Class A felonies for adults.

Androscoggin County Assistant District Attorney Melanie Portas would not say whether she would seek to have either boy tried as an adult, which would require a hearing before a judge. She said it appeared unlikely.

Police say they don't believe the cases are related, but both boys' families were about to be evicted from their homes when the fires broke out.

Ibrahim, who speaks English, whispered with his attorney, Jeffrey Dolley, during Monday's court appearance. His parents, Marian Ibrahim and Yussef Abdi, used a Somali translator to comprehend the proceedings.

Court records show that Marian Ibrahim was served a complaint in April seeking to have her removed from her apartment on Bates Street for starting a fire in Unit 8 of the building on March 18.

The building's owner said the "fire was started intentionally," activating the sprinklers, according to the court records.

Abdi Ibrahim is not a suspect in that fire and no one has been charged with starting it, said Lewiston police Lt. Michael McGonagle.

John Conway, the attorney representing the company that owns 287 Bates St., said Marian Ibrahim had agreed to terminate her lease.

"They had already moved out because there had been damage to the whole building," Conway said.

Covey's mother got a complaint to remove her from the apartment at 109 Blake St. just days before the fire on April 29.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

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Additional Photos

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Judge John Beliveau holds a copy of an affidavit from defendant Brian Morin during Moran's arraignment Monday in Lewiston District Court on three counts of arson.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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Bryan Wood and his attorney Steven Carey listen to Assistant District Attorney Neil McLean during Wood's arraignment Monday in Lewiston District Court on three counts of arson.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer


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