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Gardiner murder suspect claims he is a ‘political prisoner,’ ordered to undergo psych evaluation

Posted May 08, 2014, at 9:32 a.m.
Last modified May 08, 2014, at 5:19 p.m.
Leroy Herbert Smith III, 24, is shown in Kennebec County Superior Court on Thursday morning where he appeared on a charge that he murdered his father, Leroy Smith Jr.,  in the apartment they shared in Gardiner. He was represented by Waterville attorney Pam Ames.
Jim Evans | Special to the Bangor Daily News
Leroy Herbert Smith III, 24, is shown in Kennebec County Superior Court on Thursday morning where he appeared on a charge that he murdered his father, Leroy Smith Jr., in the apartment they shared in Gardiner. He was represented by Waterville attorney Pam Ames.

AUGUSTA, Maine — During his initial court appearance Thursday, Leroy Smith III of Gardiner, the man accused of killing his father at their Cannard Street home, was ordered held in jail until he can undergo a psychological exam.

No plea was entered, and Justice Donald Marden said Smith will be held in Kennebec County Jail until a July 15 court appearance.

Smith was charged Tuesday with killing his father, 56-year-old Leroy Smith II. He allegedly told police he used three knives to murder and dismember his father, then put the remains in trash bags in a nearby dumpster.

“While at the jail, Leroy Smith III made excited utterances that he killed his father,” the affidavit states. “Leroy Smith III stated that he filleted him and buried him in the woods because his dad sexually assaulted him his whole life.”

Smith said the Federal Bureau of Investigation told him to videotape the event, according to the affidavit.

His father’s remains were found Monday morning in nine trash bags in a wooded area off Lincoln Street in Richmond, about 8 miles from the Cannard Street apartment.

In shackles and handcuffs, Smith stood beside his attorney, Pam Ames, in the courtroom Thursday morning. He told Marden he did understand the charges.

Marden told him the maximum sentence for “intentional or knowing or depraved indifference murder” is 25 years to life.

Assistant Attorney General Leeann Zainea said she would request a hearing in which a bail amount may be set or bail may be denied. Ames did not object.

Marden said the murder charge would go to a grand jury, and Smith is not required to enter a plea unless and until he is indicted.

Ames said Smith “made a number of statements” that she would only be able to assess after the forensic evaluation of her client’s psychological state.

As Smith left the courtroom, he said, “I am a political prisoner.” He also urged people to look him up on Twitter.

According to an affidavit from Maine State Police Detective Jonah O’Roak, Smith told police that after he dismembered his father, he removed the remains from the dumpster and drove them to the wooded area in Richmond, and where he planned to bury them on Monday.

Smith initially was arrested early Monday morning in Westbrook on a Westborough, Massachusetts, fugitive-from-justice warrant. The warrant charged that he violated a protection-from-harassment order obtained by his landlord in October, Westborough Police Chief Alan Gordon said Tuesday.

He allegedly told police at the time where to find his father’s remains.

Maine State Police on Monday and Tuesday searched the Cannard Street apartment and canvassed the neighborhood, asking residents if they had seen the two men in recent days.

On Wednesday, Steve Marson, owner of River Road Variety near the end of Cannard Street, said Smith had been in his store five times Saturday night, so he searched store videotape, which Marson said showed Smith purchasing Lestoil, ammonia, bleach and garbage bags.

Smith was an honor student at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, Massachusetts, from where he graduated in 2008, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported Thursday.

Edward P. Smith, Leroy Smith III’s uncle, told the Telegram & Gazette that a few months ago, Smith was kicked out of the Northborough home of his mother and stepfather. Smith lived on his own for awhile and then moved in with his father in Gardiner.

In the time Smith lived with his father, “it was found out that the kid just wasn’t right,” his uncle said.

Meanwhile, police with fire marshals and bomb-sniffing dogs continued Thursday to search wooded areas of Richmond and Gardiner, looking for 25 to 45 “improvised primitive-type pyrotechnics” that Smith allegedly told police he had placed in those communities.

“We’re going on a description that they may be about the size of a toilet paper roll and wrapped up in duct tape,” Richmond Police Chief Scott MacMaster said. “He said they were made to alert him to where people walk so he could know where to camp or plant marijuana.”

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