AUGUSTA — A forensic psychiatrist testified Tuesday that Leroy Smith III’s condition has improved in some areas now that he is taking antipsychotic medication under court order, but that his delusions remain.

Smith, 27, is accused of slaying his father in May 2014 in their Gardiner apartment, dismembering the body and disposing of various parts.

Dr. Carlyle Voss, a forensic psychiatrist, testified that some aspects of Smith’s condition have improved between September 2015, when Voss first evaluated him, and January 2017, when Voss reassessed him and reviewed his records at Riverview Psychiatric Center, where Smith has been held since a few days after the discovery of the slaying.

However, Voss said Smith remains convinced he needs a trial to prove his innocence.

“The delusional material is absolutely fixed,” Voss said. “This is his total reality.” Voss said it was hoped that delusional beliefs would soften or go away with the use of medication. “They did not.”

Smith has said he acted in self-defense because his father was poisoning his food with D-Con and that the bands Slayer and Phish were involved, as well as Hells Angels.

Smith was the first person in Maine to be forced — under a 2015 law — 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.

On Tuesday, Voss also testified that Smith indicated he would stop his medication unless he was under a court order to take it.

“That would be unfortunate,” Voss said, adding that Smith’s emotional controls would deteriorate, placing others at risk.

Voss said Smith has been diagnosed with delusional disorder and paranoid schizophrenia.

Three forensic psychologists testifed in January that Smith has made progress over the past year or so while on medication.

Under questioning by the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber, Voss said the medication had improved Smith’s emotional control and that being moved to a lower-stress unit at Riverview has helped as well.

At the close of Tuesday’s hearing, Justice Michaela Murphy told Smith, “You understand you are still under an order to take your medication.”

He responded, “I understand all that.”

Smith was expected to take the witness stand Tuesday during the defense portion of his competency hearing at the Capital Judicial Center; however, the hearing was continued before he could do so after the judge indicated she had another matter to handle. No date for the continuation was scheduled.

In the meantime, forensic evaluators agree that Smith’s condition has improved now that he’s been taking the take medication for more than a year. Smith was taking Zyprexa, an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; and he now is taking a therapeutic dose of Haldol, a different antipsychotic medication, according to testimony Tuesday. While the court has ordered him to be medicated involuntarily if necessary, Smith has been taking it voluntarily.

Smith’s head was shaved and his beard and mustache trimmed short for the court date. He wore a long-sleeved white dress shirt, a red tie, and light beige trousers, and his wrists were at his sides and cuffed separately to a chain at his waist. He sat between his attorneys at the defense table, in contrast to last month’s hearing, at which he separately at a table behind them.

Armed deputies with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office remained within a few feet of Smith at all times in the courtroom.

Smith has told a number of forensic evaluators he wants a jury to hear his self-defense arguments for killing his father, and last month he began cooperating with his attorneys in his case.

Before this, Smith repeatedly tried to fire the defense team of attorneys Scott Hess and Pamela Ames, saying they refused to investigate his claims that he killed his father in self-defense because his father was poisoning him and that somehow the bands Slayer and Phish were involved, along with Hells Angels.

At Tuesday’s hearing, the judge told Voss that Smith had contacted his attorneys after the January hearing and has been meeting with them voluntarily. In court on Tuesday, he told Murphy that he no longer wanted to change attorneys.

“I am glad you are now comfortable with attorneys,” Murphy said.

Police say the younger Smith, now 27, stabbed Leroy Smith Jr., 56, to death May 3, 2014, dismembered the body and distributed 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.

The hearing in front of Murphy was a continuation of one begun Jan. 20, 2017, during which the state presented forensic evaluators who testified that Smith recognizes that others might not believe him and might think his theories are crazy, but he wants a jury to hear them.

If he is found guilty at trial, then he understands he could pursue a defense of not criminally responsible. Voss testified that Smith had a good understanding of that process.

After Tuesday’s session, Hess would not say whether Smith wants to be found competent. “He’s going to let the judge make that decision,” Hess said.

Macomber said afterward, “I think he wants to be found competent so he can have a trial.”

Macomber reiterated his previous position in the case, saying, “I would be willing to stipulate to a not criminally responsible finding.” If Smith were found not criminally responsible for the murder of his father, he would be held at Riverview indefinitely or until he could prove he was no longer a danger to himself or others.

Ames said Smith had expected to testify at Tuesday’s hearing. “That was something discussed at the Jan. 20 hearing,” she said. She also said he seemed to handle the delay well.

Hess said that if Smith were determined to be competent, the case would continue to trial.

Ames said there is a third alternative, which would be a determination that Smith is not competent now but possibly could be restored to competency with continued medication. Murphy is expected to render a decision about competency to stand trail once the hearing is concluded.

In June 2016, a different 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.

According to information in an affidavit by Maine State Police Detective Jonah O’Roak, 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. 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 court hearing five days after the slaying, the younger Smith claimed to be a political prisoner.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.