Franklin Countys First News

Judge: Father can put up bail in arson case

Spencer Knox (Photo courtesy of Franklin County Detention Center)

FARMINGTON - The father of a man accused of burning a truck can put up bail to effect his release, a judge said in Franklin County Superior Court Tuesday.

Spencer Knox, 23 of Carthage, has been charged with arson, a Class A felony, following a state fire marshal's office investigation into the destruction of a pickup truck belonging to his father on Dec. 15. Knox, who was arrested on Dec. 21, has been held at Franklin County Detention Center of $10,000 cash bail or $50,000 surety.

Police began investigating after the burned truck, a 2008 Ford F150, was located approximately one mile away from the owner's home on a dead-ended, dirt road. It was deemed a total loss, with investigators believing the fire began in the cab. The owner still owed $15,000 on the truck, which was insured.

Investigators met with the owner of the truck later that day and determined that the owner's son, Knox, had been "causing trouble" in the early morning hours. Upon speaking with witnesses that had been in the area on the evening of Dec. 14, investigators determined that Knox had taken his father's truck and then struck a second vehicle at another individual's house, doing minimal damage to the truck. Knox then returned to his parents' residence, at which point there was a reported altercation between the truck's owner and Knox. Investigators believe that Knox then took the truck a second time and drove it down the dirt road, after which he set it on fire.

Knox reportedly told another individual that he had burned the truck by putting paper on the dash and then setting it on fire. Witnesses that investigators spoke with indicated that Knox's "behavior had been escalating" and that he needed help.

Fire Marshal's Office investigators and Maine State Police troopers arrested Knox at his parents' home in Carthage on Dec. 21. Knox was reportedly arrested as he attempted to exit the rear door in the residence.

On Tuesday, Knox's attorney, Curtis Rice, asked Justice Thomas Delahanty to allow Knox to have contact with his father. Besides enabling the two to have contact, Rice said, it would enable the father to put up his property as surety to bail Knox out of jail. Knox's father had attempted to put up his property before, but that attempt was rejected by court clerks due to the no contact provision.

Rice noted that Knox's next scheduled conference wasn't until May 8. If the judge wasn't able to relax the no contact provision and enable Knox's father to post Knox's bail, Rice said, he would instead request that the court allow Knox to be considered for a Maine Pre-Trial Services contract. Knox had lined up a job and alternative places to stay, Rice said. Furthermore, Knox had recently been prescribed new medication and needed to leave jail in order to fill that prescription.

Assistant District Attorney Josh Robbins said that while Knox being screened by Maine Pre-Trial Services was acceptable to the state, contact between Knox and his father was not. The father represented a "rather integral part" of the state's case, Robbins said.

Knox's previous criminal history, Robbins said in response to a question by Delahanty, included two operating after suspension convictions, one conviction for operating without a license and one conviction for stealing drugs.

Delahanty said that the no contact provision should not prevent Knox's father from putting up his property as surety to secure his son's release. He said that Knox needed to first be screened by MPTS and, should he qualify for supervised release, he would set bail at $5,000 unsecured. He added additional conditions to Knox's bail, including a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

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4 Responses »

  1. Huh? You really can't make this stuff up. I'll bet that the full story would be pretty interesting, if we could get it.

  2. I don't understand why the father is bailing him out. Let the kid sit and think about what he's done and get adjusted to his new medication while he's in there. With his previous history something needs to be done or this IS going to be his whole life history. Very sad! Hope he gets help.

  3. ‘Gotham’ soon to be replaced with ‘Carthage’.

  4. Ever wonder why these kids never learn......Their parents keep bailing them out!!!