Monday, 11 September 2017 16:44

Smith not criminally responsible for killing father Featured

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AUGUSTA - A jury was ready to hear evidence in A murder trial Monday, but a last minute plea deal sent the jurors home without having heard a single word of testimony.


An Augusta judge accepted Leroy Smith's guilty plea to manslaughter in connection with the May 2014 stabbing death of his father.

Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy ordered 27-year-old Leroy Smith III committed to Riverview Psychiatric Center, after finding he was not criminally responsible for stabbing, dismembering, and disposing of parts of his father's body in May 2014.

"It's very clear that Leroy Smith was legally insane at the time he killed his father. He had no idea what he was doing. He thought he was God," said Donald  Macomber, the assistant attorney general who prosecuted the case.

The Gardiner man wanted to tell his story to a jury, but his attorney said it was too much of a gamble to try to convince a jury Smith acted in self defense.

"He knows what he did, but he has the belief, the subjective belief, that his father had tried to kill him prior with rat poison," said Pamela Ames, a Waterville defense attorney representing Smith.

There was a stark contrast between Smith's appearance in court Monday morning compared with his initial court appearance three years ago, when his hair and beard were in disarray. Monday his head was shaved and he sported a goatee.

Since his confession, Smith has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, as well as grandiose and persecutory delusions. This case gained even more notoriety after state lawmakers passed legislation allowing prosecutors to force Smith to take medication for his schizophrenia.

The prosecuto said Smith's guilty plea was based on a principle of law called an imperfect self defense.

"Imperfect self defense is, even though he may have actually believed he had to kill his father or that his father was about to kill him, there was no basis in fact for him to believe that," said Macomber.

Now it's up to doctors to determine if, and when, Smith is  released from Riverview Psychiatric Center.


TJ Tremble

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T.J. Tremble joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX FOX 22 in March 2016.

He was raised in Bangor, attended Bangor schools and graduated from John Bapst High School. He attended the University of Maine, studying political science.

He started his news career at the Camden Herald, many years ago. He also worked for the Bangor Daily News in Rockland, Belfast and Bangor.

He entered broadcast journalism as news director for WQCB-FM, Brewer. For Many years he worked behind the scenes in radio and television.

Recently, he worked as a news reporter for Zone Radio Corporation in Bangor [WZON-AM, WKIT-FM and WZLO-FM.

He has received reporting awards from the Maine Press Association, Maine Association of Broadcasters and the Maine Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

He is married, with three adult children and three grandchildren.