Three classmates accused of burning down the Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford entered not guilty pleas in court Tuesday.
This is the first time we’re seeing the Stratford teens, now that they’re facing charges as adults.
Eighteen-year-old Christopher Sakowicz, 18-year-old Vincent Keller, 17-year-old Logan Caraballo denied all charges against them.
According to arresting documents, Keller texted Sakowicz “My brother are (sic) work has made the national news,” after news of the fire broke.
Keller’s lawyer Frank Riccio has said his client is a smart kid, who associated himself with Sakowicz, a troubled young man.
Sakowicz’ lawyer says he has no comment at this time.
Arresting warrants say the third teen, Caraballo, drove the boys to the theatre. His lawyer says he doesn’t believe the state’s evidence will match charges filed against his client.
“It’s been a very long process to date and we’re still just getting started. We’ll let the process work itself out. All the evidence has to be provided now. That will take a number of court dates and a number of months and ultimately we will see some resolution. We just don’t know when,” said Riccio.
Two of the three teens, Sakowicz and Keller, are accused of setting a handful of fires.
They were also arraigned for another fire in Stratford Tuesday. The two 18-year-olds denied burning a mulch hauling truck in March. One of the owners of the Good Earth Tree Care Company in Stratford says the loss has set them back about two months, a hardship at the start of their busy spring season.
Also Tuesday, the West Haven Police Department accused Sakowicz and an unnamed teen for two structure fires there in February. Keller’s lawyer says that unnamed teen is his client.
“The most serious of the charges that stem from every incident is an arson first degree charge. If convicted of that charge, there’s a mandatory minimum ten year jail sentence, so yes, we’re talking extraordinarily serious charges and the family and Mr. Keller is taking it very seriously,” Riccio said.