One of the three teens accused of setting fire to a Lewiston apartment building that killed a 70-year-old man in September has been found not competent to stand trial.
In a ruling issued last week, a District Court judge said the teen had no “rational” or “factual” understanding of the proceedings or ability to consult with a defense attorney, according to the Lewiston Sun Journal.
It’s unlikely the teen will become competent to be prosecuted in the “foreseeable future,” the judge said.
A judge will decide at a later hearing whether to request the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to evaluate the possibility of providing mental health and behavioral services or to place the teen in state custody. Charges would be dismissed at the end of that hearing, according to the Sun Journal.
Two 13-year-olds and 14-year-old were arrested Sept. 13 and sent to Long Creek Youth Correctional Facility in South Portland following a fire that broke out at a six-story, multi-unit apartment building on Blake Street two days earlier.
The building was evacuated but 70-year-old Felicien Betu was trapped on the sixth floor. As rescuers attempted to reach him, Betu jumped from a window to escape from the flames.
He died from injuries he suffered in the fall.
No other tenant was injured in the blaze, which displaced nearly 30 people.
The teens were initially charged with arson, but a felony murder charge was later added.
If convicted on that charge as adults, they face up to 30 years in prison.