Years before their fatal confrontation, Mark Cardilli Jr. and Isahak Muse were both students at Portland’s largest high school.

Isahak Muse, left, and Mark Cardilli Jr. both graduated from Deering High School, two years apart. Photo from Deering High School yearbooks

While family members of both men have declined to speak publicly about them, some details about their lives are emerging in the wake of Cardilli’s indictment and arrest in connection with Muse’s killing.

Cardilli graduated from Deering High School in 2013. He was a member of a Police Explorers Post, reflecting an apparent interest in a law enforcement career.

Muse graduated two years later. He was a member of Deering’s basketball team.

It’s not clear if they knew each other in high school. Deering has about 900 students. But Cardilli, 24, is now charged with murder in the shooting death of Muse, 22. A police affidavit filed Tuesday says the shooting happened during a violent family argument in the early hours of March 16. Muse was dating Cardilli’s younger sister, and the conflict reportedly began when her parents wanted him to leave the family’s home in Riverton.

After high school, Cardilli enrolled in the criminal justice program at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. But he withdrew after the fall 2013 semester, according to the school.

Military records show Cardilli joined the U.S. Army in May 2014.  He earned the rank of sergeant two years ago and was most recently stationed at Fort Drum in New York with the 10th Mountain Division. A summary of his service record says he had not deployed, but it also says he received an overseas service ribbon. An Army spokesman did not immediately explain that apparent discrepancy. Cardilli also earned a variety of awards for good conduct and professional development.

Cardilli is at the end of his military commitment but is still receiving his final paychecks, his lawyer told the judge Tuesday. An Army spokesman from Fort Drum said Cardilli is on active duty leave.

Cardilli does not have a criminal record in Maine. His defense attorney declined to say more about his background, and the Cardilli family has not made any statements about him or the case.

Less is known about Muse’s life after high school graduation. His family has made few public comments since his death. In an interview with Essence, a national news and culture magazine for African-American readers, his sister described him as a loving person.

“He loved every soul. I’m talking about the old, the young and the babies,” Awo Muse said in the article. “He was so affectionate. And every time he greeted any of us, he would kiss us on both cheeks, and make us laugh.”

Mahmoud Hassan, the president of the Somali Community Association of Maine, spoke about Muse during a public meeting with police after the shooting. Hassan described Muse as a young and vibrant man who was well-liked by his peers, and he said young people in the community were particularly affected by his death.

Muse had several misdemeanors, according to Cumberland County court, which provided five case files showing Muse had several convictions between 2016 and 2018. A criminal background check through State Bureau of Information did not produce any results about Muse because his death apparently made the records inaccessible, a state police spokesman said.

Muse pleaded guilty in 2016 to failure to provide a correct name and was required to pay a $100 fine. During the following year, he again pleaded guilty to a series of misdemeanors: operating with a suspended or revoked license; failure to give a correct name, address or date of birth; refusing to submit to arrest; two counts of violating conditions of release; and criminal trespass. He was sentenced to jail for two weeks and then 90 days on different cases. In 2018, he pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of cocaine and paid a $400 fine.

Without the state background check, it was not clear if there are other convictions in Cumberland County or other Maine counties.

The next court date for Cardilli had not been scheduled as of Tuesday morning.

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