Adrian Sawyer

Murder defendant Adrian Sawyer of Ticonderoga is led by a county jail officer into the Washington County Centralized Arraignment Court in Fort Edward on July 27.

FORT EDWARD — The Ticonderoga teen who allegedly killed his 15-year-old friend Thursday was sent to Washington County Jail without bail on Friday after not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf, authorities saying later in the day that a wound to the victim’s neck led to his death.

Adrian J. Sawyer, 16, spoke softly to answer questions as he was arraigned before Kingsbury Town Justice Michael Keenan on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree arson. Family members of Sawyer were in court, some weeping as the slight, redheaded defendant was brought into court in handcuffs and a jail jumpsuit.

Sawyer is accused of killing Maverick Bowman in a home owned by Bowman’s family on county Route 2 in Putnam Station. Records filed by police as part of the investigation show they believe he was killed with a machete, and officials said they had argued about a girl before the attack.

Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan said an autopsy was performed Friday, and it was determined that Bowman’s manner of death was homicide and cause of death was an injury to his neck “consistent with a sharp object.” He would not elaborate, and would not say if the weapon used to kill the teen was recovered.

The arson charge alleges that Sawyer set the home on fire with Bowman inside. The extent of the damage was unclear, but no fire damage appeared evident from outside the home.

Court records filed Friday show that Sawyer is accused of intentionally killing Bowman, and that the evidence against him includes witness statements made to police, though it was not specified by whom. A notice that indicated the defendant made a statement was filed in court, but the statements themselves were not filed Friday.

His lawyer, Julie Garcia, had no comment on the case Friday morning. She told Keenan she was reserving decision on a preliminary hearing, which would be held within 7 days to determine whether he should remain jailed.

The case was adjourned until Aug. 21 in Putnam Town Court, but the Washington County District Attorney’s Office filed paperwork that indicated a grand jury will hear the case as soon as Aug. 8. Jordan said he anticipated the Aug. 21 hearing will be rendered moot by grand jury action beforehand, which would result in the case being transferred to Washington County Court.

Sawyer was arrested Thursday morning, after relatives of his contacted Ticonderoga Police with concerns he may have hurt Bowman. Police went to the 1110 Route 2 home and found Bowman dead, arresting Sawyer a short time later in Ticonderoga. Evidence of a fire inside the home was found, along with a gun whose ownership police were trying to determine.

Jordan said the investigation was continuing Friday, as police work to determine exactly what happened in the dilapidated home a short distance from Lake Champlain. State Police evidence technicians continued to work in and around the home on Friday morning, he said.

Jordan and State Police have declined to release information as to what they believe occurred in the hours before the homicide.

He pointed out that the killing of a teen by another was the latest example of extreme violence involving young people in the region. There have been four homicides involving defendants 20 and under in Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties over the past year.

“It’s just tragic,” Jordan said. “You just can’t begin to quantify these emotions, about how this could happen. It doesn’t make sense.”

Neighbors and friends said the home, owned by Bowman’s grandmother, Cindy Bowman, was used by teens as a hangout spot where they would work on vehicles. One neighbor said there were underage drinking parties at times. A Google Maps entry shows a business known as J & J Parts & Service was once located on the property.

Bowman, a hulking boy who stood 6-foot-4, would have been a junior at Ticonderoga High School this fall. He was an avid mechanic, fisherman and snowmobiler, and played football in school.

Ticonderoga School Superintendent John McDonald recalled Bowman on Friday as a nice, talented young man.

“He really loved working with his hands and with automotive. He was very talented, and had a nice disposition,” McDonald said.

Sawyer also attended Ticonderoga schools.

McDonald said the district will have grief counselors on hand to help students deal with the grief of the situation, and will send materials to homes about resources to help those who are grieving. Those who need assistance can contact the school district at 518-585-7400.

Under state law, those 16 and over are prosecuted as adults. Sawyer faces up to 25-years-to-life if convicted of second-degree murder, with a possible consecutive sentence for the arson charge.

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reporter - crimes & courts, public safety and Warren County government

Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on poststar.com/app/blogs.

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