AUGUSTA — A local man is accused of trying to murder another man by setting fire to a house where he and others were living last August.

Jason K. Brown, 29, of Augusta and formerly of Waterville, was indicted Friday on charges of attempted murder, two counts of arson and one count of aggravated criminal mischief.

The attempted murder and arson charges each carry maximum penalties of 30 years in prison. The attempted murder count alleges that Brown tried to cause the death of James W. McKenna Jr. by igniting a fire at a Fairfield Street home where McKenna was living.

The two arson charges say Brown intentionally started the fire to harm people and/or the property of McKenna, Stephen Gass and/or Terry Marston.

“He threatened to kill James McKenna and later that night went and burned the place where he was living and that affected these other people as well,” said District Attorney Maeghan Maloney.

The aggravated criminal mischief charge says Brown caused more than $2,000 in damage to siding and other building materials belonging to Gass.

The indictment was sealed until Brown was arrested, although it appears he has been held in jail since Feb. 12 on other charges, including passing a roadblock last September and other offenses being handled in Somerset County Superior Court.

Brown pleaded not guilty to all the charges Monday at his arraignment via video in Kennebec County Superior Court and remains behind bars in lieu of $50,000 bail. Defense attorney Lisa Whittier, who represented him as attorney of the day, said the defense would reserve argument concerning bail.

Brown said he will request court-appointed counsel.

Bail conditions prohibit him from contact with the victims named in the indictment as well as two other individuals. He also is banned from possession and use of incendiary devices.

All of the Kennebec County charges are related to a fire that was reported at 1:12 a.m. Aug. 24, at 11 Fairfield St. in Augusta.

At the time, Augusta Fire Department Battalion Chief John Bennett said firefighters found heavy fire on the exterior wall of one side of the home, but it did not reach the interior.

No injuries to firefighters or the occupants of the house were reported at the time, but a state fire marshal was called to investigate the blaze along with Augusta police.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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