FARMINGTON — New criminal charges were added to those against a Norridgewock man who is accused of taking a Jay paper mill’s manager hostage during an armed standoff with police Wednesday.

Francis G. Smith III, 50, is accused of kidnapping Marc Connor, who police said was held at gunpoint inside the mill for nearly seven hours before being set free unharmed Wednesday afternoon.

Smith, who is a former employee of the mill, is also accused of threatening several other mill employees with a firearm in connection with the incident, which ended after he surrendered to state police without firing a shot.

In Farmington District Court Friday, Smith, in an orange prison jumpsuit, handcuffs and leg shackles, made curt responses and several times interrupted the judge to acknowledge that he understood his rights.

At one point, Smith confirmed he is unemployed and agreed to have the attorney representing him Friday, Margot Joly, as one of two court-appointed attorneys in the case. Smith responded that “she seems nice” when asked by the judge whether he wanted Joly to represent him along with a less experienced attorney. He turned to Joly, said “Are you nice?” and smiled.

Smith’s father and sister sat silently in a rear bench, occasionally looking at the television cameras set up in the small courtroom. Smith looked down at his handcuffs when he walked past his family members while being taken by a sheriff’s deputy from the courtroom.

During the brief initial court appearance, Judge Valerie Stanfill ordered that Smith be held on $50,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond, along with other conditions. His next court date is April 20, when the status of the case will be discussed by attorneys.

Smith had initially faced charges of kidnapping and terrorizing, but prosecutors dropped the terrorizing charge in favor of criminal threatening charges stemming from the other mill employees affected by the incident.

Stanfill also ordered that Smith be transferred from the jail to Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta as soon as the state is able to schedule a psychological review for Smith.

The judge ordered that Smith be committed to the psychiatric center’s care for up to 60 days for the review and any treatment doctors deem necessary.

After the hearing, Smith’s father and sister declined to talk with reporters outside the court building.

Joly said Smith’s family is “so grateful that nobody died.” She added that the family wanted to thank police for how they handled the incident.

Joly said Smith’s behavior in the courtroom shows he suffers from obvious mental health problems. She added Smith’s comments indicate that he does not understand the serious nature of the charges he faces.

Joly did not know details about Smith and the situation at the mill this week, saying she had a brief consultation with Smith before the appearance Friday. She noted the prosecution is yet to present details of its case.

Smith was armed with a shotgun when he burst into a building at Verso Paper’s Androscoggin Mill on Wednesday about 9 a.m., policer said. Mill employees tried to disarm him and Smith pulled out a handgun, threatening them before making his way to the mill manager’s office

Smith locked himself in the in the office with Marc Connor, 43, starting a nine-hour standoff that ended peacefully when Smith surrendered to state police, according to police.

Connor was freed after Smith spoke by telephone for several hours with state police negotiators, police said.

Smith faces charges of kidnapping and criminal threatening. The kidnapping charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison.

There are four counts of criminal threatening stemming from mill employees involved in the incident, according to the prosecutor, Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Robinson.

Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. These threatening charges also each carry a one-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.

David Robinson — 861-9287

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