SKOWHEGAN – Two teen-agers accused of fatally shooting two horses as they grazed in a Pittsfield pasture have been ordered detained at the Northern Maine Juvenile Center in Charleston.
Judge James MacMichael issued the order during a District Court hearing Monday and set an arraignment date of Jan. 3.
District Attorney David Crook declined to release the names of the 16-year-old boys from Pittsfield and Waterville, who had been released earlier to the custody of their parents.
The boys confessed to killing the horses with high-powered rifles on Nov. 25 and also admitted shooting at a tractor-trailer passing by on Interstate 95, police said. The truck was damaged but no one was hurt.
The juveniles face charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated criminal mischief with the use of a firearm, cruelty to an animal with a firearm, reckless conduct with use of a firearm, aggravated criminal mischief with use of a firearm and shooting a domestic animal.
Crook said a decision on whether to try the two as adults will be based in part on the recommendations of psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers after the boys undergo forensic examinations at Charleston.
A convoy is being organized this Saturday to travel from the site of the shootings to the Somerset County Courthouse to press prosecutors to pursue the strongest possible charges.
One of the owners of the horses, Pamela J. Pelotte, said she was pleased to learn that the judge had ordered the boys detained.
“They don’t belong in the streets or in the schools,” said Pelotte, who had been concerned knowing that the teen-ager who lived nearby in Pittsfield had been released in his parents’ custody after the shootings.
“I’m sleeping a little better, knowing that he’s not out on the road,” she said.
The decision to detain the two boys more than a week after the shootings did not represent a change of heart, Crook said.
“There was no change of mind,” the prosecutor said. “It was more like, ‘at what point do we make an arrest?”‘