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Teens Plead not guilty to arson charges


Three teens accused of setting fire to Stratford’s American Shakespeare Theatre, all are entering a not guilty plea in Bridgeport Superior Court.

Frank Riccio is the attorney for Vincent Keller. He said, “They’re charged with a series of other offenses that deal with criminal mischief, Criminal trespass, and other burglary related charges.” He told News 8 they’re waiting for more evidence. 

Related: Teens accused of Shakespeare Theatre fire set for arraignment on Thursday

Riccio said, “In determination in whether or not to resolve the case in way of plea or by way of trail is something that can only be made until after the evidence has been reviewed.”

According to the arrest warrant, the teens entered the Shakespeare Theatre through an unlocked door.  The affidavit states 18-year-old Christopher Sakowicz took a rag and lit it on fire with chemicals.  
It goes on to say the three teens left with the fire spreading and went to Wendy’s in Milford. After getting food, they drove back to watch the theater burn.

Related: Arrest warrants shed light on Shakespeare Theater arson in Stratford

Jill Kassim said, “It’s an iconic theatre. It’s been here forever and that’s really sad.” According to the arrest warrant Keller sent a text message to his girlfriend stating… “Goodnight we are going to burn down Shakespeare.” Keller sent a text to Sakowicz “My brother [our] work has made national news.” Sakowicz replied, “The whole world will know one day.”

Sakowicz and Keller are also charged with setting a fire to the Southbury Training School, a vacant house and the former Bilco building in West Haven, a truck at Good Earth Tree Care in Stratford and a fire that damaged construction trailers at Silver Sands State Park in Milford.

Related: Questions arise on future development of the Shakespeare Theater property

According to the arrest warrant Sakowicz admitted to being in a video posted on SnapChat while at the Silver Sands Pavilion. Defense attorney Frank Riccio said social media is playing a large role in this case. Riccio told News 8, “It placed both gentleman in harm’s way in this case.” 

The case was continued to May 23.

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