AUGUSTA — Leroy Smith III, accused of murdering his father in May 2014, is adamant he wants a trial so he can tell jurors he acted in self-defense.

Smith, now 27, believes his father was putting rat poison in the food he served, and he wants attorneys to investigate that theory as well as theories involving an event Smith believes took place at a Phish concert where members of the Hell’s Angels held him at gunpoint and warned him his father would try to kill him. The band Slayer was involved, as well, Smith has said.

Forensic psychologists and others who have dealt with Smith have testified those things are delusions and not based in reality.

Three psychologists discussed Smith’s recent condition during a hearing Friday at the Capital Judicial Center, and all said he has made progress over the past year or so while on medication. It was not clear when Justice Michaela Murphy will issue the next order, which could deem Smith competent to stand trial or request that he continue to receive treatment at Riverview Psychiatric Center.

An expert who evaluated Smith’s condition on behalf of the defense was unable to attend Friday’s hearing and is expected to testify Feb. 13.

Smith has been in court about every six months and evaluated frequently because he has been found incompetent to stand trial and is under a court order to be involuntarily medicated, if necessary, in an attempt to restore him to competence. While he has been taking the medication voluntarily, it has had side effects, including an obvious weight gain and some tremors that apparently have been reduced.

Following passage of a 2015 law, Smith is the first person in Maine to be forced to take psychiatric medication in an effort to restore his mental capacity to a level at which he can participate fully in his own defense.

In June 2016, a judge found Smith competent to enter a plea of not guilty and the judge entered a plea of not criminally responsible on Smith’s behalf as well.

On Friday, Smith, with his head shaved and a trimmed long dark beard, and wearing a long-sleeved white dress shirt and a tie, sat quietly at a table behind his two attorneys.

A chain was wrapped around his waist and connected to his handcuffs. He was watched closely by Kennebec Sheriff’s Office deputies as he listened to testimony about himself. He was not expected to testify, and at one point leaned over the table to discuss something with Scott Hess, of his two attorneys.

Smith has tried to fire both Hess and attorney Pam Ames, but Murphy told him Friday that they would remain on the case as long as his mental competence was at issue. Smith has been unwilling to meet with them, as well.

Police say the younger man stabbed Leroy Smith Jr., 56, to death in May 2014 in the Gardiner apartment they shared, then dismembered the body, distributing some parts in a wooded area of Richmond.

Smith, who doctors say suffers from delusional disorder, has been held at Riverview Psychiatric Center since his arrest several days after the older man’s death.

At Friday’s hearing, three psychologists who evaluated Smith testified that he has improved enough to recognize that people might think his theories are crazy, but he still wanted his day in court.

“Mr. Smith’s motivation to come to a disposition at this time is extremely high,” she said.

Ann LeBlanc, director of the state forensic service, said that while Smith holds to his delusions, “his ability to step back from his delusions when talking about his case has improved.”

She said Smith is reluctant to plead not criminally responsible for the murder because he has spoken with others who have been held at Riverview for long periods of time until a judge decides they can be discharged.

She also said Smith has done well in his efforts toward recovery and recently was elected president of the unit on which he is being held at Riverview.

Peter Donnelly, another clinical psychologist, testified that Smith regrets not having his hair tested for the presence of rat poison closer to the time of the murder allegations.

Donnelly said Smith told him the story about the encounter with the Hells Angels and Slayer.

“He believes he was forced to take peyote,” Donnelly said. “He believes he was being tested for not leading the right kind of life or not playing music correctly.”

Donnelly said Smith hopes Slayer’s tax records can be found, and Smith wants to recover his 2011 Facebook postings — in which he apparently threatened the president — because they should have alerted the government to step in, thereby preventing his father’s death.

At one point, the Secret Service warned Smith after questioning him about threats he allegedly made against President Barack Obama.

According to information in an affidavit by Maine State Police Detective Jonah O’Roak, who sought the original arrest warrant, the younger Smith told case investigators he had killed his father and then “filleted him and buried him in the woods because his dad sexually assaulted him his whole life.”

There was no record of Leroy Herbert Smith Jr. on a sex offender registry in the United States, and the younger Smith had lived in Massachusetts until moving in with his father not long before the slaying.

Smith also said he rented a carpet steamer to help clean up the blood. At a hearing five days later, the younger Smith claimed to be a political prisoner.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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