AUGUSTA — A judge on Wednesday found a former Portland man not mentally competent to stand trial on six criminal charges and ordered those charges dismissed.

The dismissal of charges against Ismail Mohamed Awad, 28, occurred during a hearing at the Capital Judicial Center, where a clinical psychologist and a nurse practitioner told Justice Michaela Murphy that Awad has been taking his antipsychotic medication voluntarily for the past five months and has shown some improvement, but not enough for him to proceed in the cases. Murphy also accepted their conclusion that it was unlikely Awad could be restored to competence.

“Mr. Awad has been at Riverview for almost three years,” Murphy said. “They have been treating him as best they can.”

Awad had been charged with aggravated trafficking, unlawful trafficking, burglary and three counts of theft by unauthorized taking, all occurring March 15 through Aug. 4, 2013 in Portland; as well as aggravated assault from Oct. 14, 2014, in Augusta. All those charges were dismissed Wednesday.

Awad had been under a court order to take his medication after he refused to do so, and that order was appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which heard oral arguments in October 2016. No opinion has been issued.

Awad previously was found not competent to stand trial after a hearing in January 2015.

While at Riverview, Awad also was charged with assaulting three mental health workers there in October 2014.

At an initial hearing in those cases, Awad repeatedly begged Judge Valerie Stanfill at first to let him plead guilty and be freed on probation and later to place him in a mental institution. “Can I go back to a mental institution?” Awad asked. “Please, please, I cannot do jail time.”

He told the judge he had a mental illness and had spent time at various psychiatric hospitals, including Spring Harbor and Riverview in Maine and several years at Bridgewater State Hospital in Massachusetts, which handles forensic patients — those who are accused of a crime.

“My body’s hesitating, My body’s shaking,” he said. “I cannot do jail time. My body will fall apart.”

In contrast to those remarks, Awad said nothing at Wednesday’s hearing, instead allowing his attorneys, Lisa Whittier and Kevin Moynihan, to speak for him.

He wore a gray long-sleeved sweatshirt and his hands and feet were shackled. He was visibly heavier than he has been at earlier court hearings.

After the hearing, Moynihan said Awad had been charged with drug trafficking offenses in March 2013 in Portland after a drug dealer discovered he could take advantage of Awad’s mental illness.

Peter Donnelly, a clinical psychologist who has evaluated Awad 11 times since 2014, testified that before 2016, Awad’s “compliance with medication was poor,” that he has “a very limited understanding” of charges against him.

“He has poor short-term memory and oftentimes can’t retain information,” Donnelly said, noting that Awad had been a special education student in Portland.

Doctors previously said Awad suffers from schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorder and substance abuse.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Kate Marshall, said Awad meets the criteria for a civil commitment.

Murphy ordered Awad placed in the custody of the commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services and noted that the civil commitment procedure for Awad already was in progress.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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