Webster, N.Y. - Michael Pilato could be heard quietly sniffling and seen wiping tears from his eyes as he stood before a judge in Webster Town Court Thursday morning. With a lawyer at his side, the 15-year old Pilato entered a not guilty plea to six charges of murder and one count of arson.
Court paperwork indicates that investigators believe Pilato poured gasoline inside his family's Cardile Drive home and then started the fire that killed his father and two brothers. Pilato's sister and mother managed to escape but were taken to the hospital and treated for injuries.
The fire started around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Later that morning Pilato was arrested.
Two of Pilato's close friends showed up in court Thursday to watch the arraignment.
"I'm almost 100 percent (sure) he knows what he did was beyond stupid and I bet he's livid at himself for it, and he doesn't know what to do because he's scared right now," Sonny Mottler, 15, a close friend of Pilato's since fourth grade said. "I know a whole different Mike from everybody else, I know a warm-hearted Mike, not a cold-blooded killer."
"We all are wondering if he did it, because Mike is not an angry person. When he gets mad, you know what? You know it! He doesn't just go and retaliate or show spite. He will talk his feelings out, but something had to have got to him," Crystal Bailey, 16, a close family friend said. "He was out that night, he was hanging out with our friends and then went home for an hour before that happened....he was acting perfectly fine. He was texting normal. He wasn't acting weird at all, and that that happened, that's why it's such a shocker."
Sonny Mottler was asked if he thinks Pilato was responsible for the fire that killed three members of his family.
"I kind of do, but another part of me hopes that it's not true," Mottler replied. "If he did do it, then yeah, he made a mistake, a really bad one, a really big one. But I'm still going to be there to support him 100 percent."
Another friend, Brandon Henderson, said Michael called him at 1:12 a.m. Wednesday.
That's around the same time that Webster fire and police were called to his home that was on fire.
Henderson showed 13WHAM the missed call on his cell phone from Michael.
"I think about that all the time," Henderson said about not taking the phone call in the middle of the night. "Shoulda, coulda, woulda...could have been up, and could have stopped it. Coulda changed his whole life. I don't know what to say about it. I can't believe he'd be in this position."
Henderson said he noticed that Michael was struggling recently with some issues.