The son of a Gardiner man whose remains were found off a dirt road in Richmond Monday has been charged with his father’s murder.
Leroy Smith III, 24, was charged Tuesday afternoon at the Cumberland County Jail where he is being held on an unrelated charge, said Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland. Smith is expected to make his first court appearance later this week.
The remains of Smith’s father, 56-year-old Leroy Smith Jr., were found early Monday morning in the woods near the Richmond Transfer Station on Lincoln Street.
The Smiths shared an apartment at 16 Cannard St. in Gardiner. McCausland said the elder Smith was killed inside that apartment and later taken to the woods where his remains were found. An examination by the State Medical Examiner concluded Smith died as a result of “multiple sharp force injuries.”
State Police continued to gather evidence Tuesday, including a search of the Cannard Street apartment.
“The decision to charge him was made by the Attorney General’s Office following (Tuesday’s) autopsy,” McCausland said.
Details of the police investigation and Leroy Smith III’s life began to come to light Tuesday.
Westbrook Police arrested Smith at 12:30 a.m. Monday on a warrant charging him with failure to appear in court to answer a complaint he violated a harassment order sought by his landlord in Massachusetts. Westbrook Police Capt. Mike Nugent said Smith flagged down officers on the side of the road to ask for directions. Police arrested Smith after running a routine check and discovering the warrant out of Massachusetts.
Smith ultimately provided information to Westbrook Police that led officers in Richmond to his father’s remains.
Police have not described the condition of those remains or said when they believe Leroy Smith Jr. was killed. At least one friend recalled talking to the elder Smith on Friday afternoon. Michael Parady, a close friend of Leroy Smith Jr.’s for the past 15 years, said he grew suspicious Sunday morning when a mutual friend called wondering if Parady had seen the elder Smith. The friend and Smith had planned to look at a car together that morning, but Smith did not answer when the friend called. The men grew more concerned when there was no answer at the Cannard Street apartment. Sensing something was amiss, the men went to the Gardiner Police Department.
“The police could not do a thing because there was no crime at this point,” Parady said. “But the damage was already done.”
Parady said he had feared for Leroy Smith Jr.’s safety since his son moved in several months ago. Parady last saw the elder Smith a couple weeks ago.
“We talked about his son,” Parady recalled. “I was very concerned about his son living with him. I knew he was an extremely dangerous person.”
The elder Smith believed his son to be dangerous.
“He said, âI sleep with one eye open,'” Parady said.
Friends recalled the elder Smith as eternally optimistic and eager to help in times of trouble. Parady believes that trait ultimately led to his death.
“He wanted to try and help his son,” Parady said.
Leroy Smith III was banned from his apartment building in Westborough, Mass., last fall after he started to upset other tenants and the landlord, said Police Chief Alan Gordon.
At one point, Smith set his guitar and amplifier on fire in the backyard because “he believed they were emitting evil music,” Gordon said.
The younger Smith was served with a protection from harassment order on Oct. 29 and violated it on Oct. 30, Gordon said. The town’s court issued a warrant for his arrest when Smith failed to show for his December court date.
At some point after the initial protection order was issued, the Secret Service contacted police to say they wanted to question Smith about threats he allegedly made against the President. Gordon said the FBI had launched an investigation into the allegation.
Gordon said Smith “thought he was God,” a claim he repeats frequently on his Facebook page, which includes a picture of the burned out guitar and amplifier and numerous rambling, profanity-laced entries that describe, among other things, a deep paranoia of the government. Smith repeatedly describes himself as “head of the KKK” and at one point expresses a desire to start World War III. One of the posts, in which Smith again claims to be God, says “I hate you all, you never see the truth.” It was so disquieting that it prompted a friend to ask if Smith was all right.
“You, go to hell and ask the Devil what a platapus’ (sic) death costs!” Smith responded. “That is life.”
In one entry, posted Feb. 12, Smith rails against his father and writes, he “spent the last 6 days in a mental wellness unit,” because of an argument the men had.
“I have no depression, anxiety or other mental health issues,” the younger Smith wrote. “I just have an issue with you knowing who I am and letting me rot on society’s edge. — God.”
Craig Crosby — 621-5642 | [email protected] | Twitter: @CraigCrosby4
Staff Writer David Hench and the Associated Press contributed to this report.