FORT EDWARD, N.Y. -- Less than two months have passed since Freddy Muhlberger lost his close friend, 15-year-old Maverick Bowman of Ticonderoga.
“It’s been really hard; it affected a lot of people. Everyone liked him. He never did anyone wrong," Muhlberger said Thursday on his way out of the Washington County Courthouse. “We always hung out pretty much every day for the past two years. I’ll never be able to get to do that again.”
According to prosecutors, Bowman was killed with a machete by another friend, 16-year-old Adrian Sawyer, while they were hanging out together at an abandoned home in the town of Putnam.
"One of the most difficult pieces for people to grasp is ‘why?’” Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan said. “It is very often an unanswered question and certainly I suspect in this case we will probably never get a very clear answer."
At his Thursday morning arraignment in Washington County, Sawyer pleaded not guilty to counts of second degree murder and second degree arson. Investigators say he set the home on fire after taking Bowman's life.
“At this point, we are setting it up. There is a lot to this case that has yet to come out,” defense attorney Marc Zuckerman said. “I think we have a very strong defense.”
Zuckerman, who is co-defending Sawyer with attorney Julie Garcia, says his legal team is considering a defense of not guilty by reason of extreme emotional disturbance.
“Adrian’s state of mind is very important in this case and we are examining that,” Zuckerman said. “We will have more in the future as to what his state of mind was and how this happened.”
“Given the age of the accused, all of that is what we expected," Jordan said.
If convicted of both counts, Sawyer could face between 50 years to life in prison -- a punishment Muhlberger believes is justified if he's guilty.
“I just hope he gets what he deserves,” Muhlberger said. “He affected a lot of people more than he’ll ever understand.”
Sawyer's request for bail was denied and he was remanded back to the Washington County Jail. His next court appearance is scheduled for mid-November.