Man accused of holding paper mill manager at gunpoint indicted

Posted May 18, 2012, at 6:26 a.m.
Francis Smith III
Francis Smith III

FARMINGTON, Maine — A Norridgewock man was indicted Thursday on charges that he held hostage the manager of Verso Paper’s Androscoggin Mill at the mill in Jay on March 14.

Francis Smith III, 50, was charged by a Franklin County grand jury with kidnapping, terrorizing, three counts of criminal threatening and one count of assault.

A conviction for kidnapping is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Smith is accused of holding mill manager Marc Connor hostage for more than nine hours inside the mill. Police have said the man, who was fired from his mill job several months earlier, entered Verso Paper armed with a shotgun and a pistol.

Mill employees tried to take the shotgun from Smith, according to court records.

“He then pulled out a handgun from his waistband and held the employees at bay,” a court document states.

Smith went into Connor’s office and police evacuated the building.

Judge Valerie Stanfill set bail in March at $50,000 cash or $500,000 surety bond. Conditions are that he not possess dangerous weapons, have no contact with six victims, not go onto Verso property and not enter the town of Jay.

The judge also placed Smith under a court-ordered commitment for a mental health evaluation at the Maine Department of Health and Human Service’s Riverview Psychiatric Center. Smith will undergo observation and treatment for not more than 60 days once a room is available.

According to court records, Jay police officers heard two men, believed to be Smith and Connor, talking through the locked door of the manager’s office before state police arrived.

Smith said he was angry and upset about losing his job at the mill. “Francis was also upset about how others have been treated at the mill,” according to court records.

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