AUGUSTA — A jury found an Augusta man not guilty of putting a gun in his wife’s mouth and then pointing it at their daughter, following a three-day trial that concluded Wednesday after several hours of deliberations.

Ashraf M. Al Hilfi, 32, was tried on felony charges of domestic violence criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and domestic violence terrorizing with a dangerous weapon. He was also facing a misdemeanor domestic violence assault charge.

A jury found Hilfi not guilty on all three counts Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.

“We’re really happy to see justice served,” Hilfi’s attorney, Alec Nicole Youngblood-Avery, said after the verdict. She and an emotional Hilfi shared a number of lengthy embraces as he thanked her.

Youngblood-Avery cited inconsistencies between the testimony of the girl and her mother, describing a roughly two-year gap between when their various accounts of the incident took place. She said Hilfi’s wife testified the incident happened two years ago but, with their daughter translating her Arabic into English, told police in September 2022 it happened just four months prior to then.

Youngblood-Avery said the mother testified in court the crime occurred in 2020, a time when Hilfi didn’t yet own the gun that was the focus of testimony Monday and Tuesday. She said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives records provided to Augusta police as they investigated the crime showed Hilfi purchased the small black handgun in 2021.


Prosecutor Amanda Seekins, an assistant district attorney, said Hilfi’s now 12-year-old daughter was woken up by screaming and yelling in her little brother’s room the night of the incident. She entered the room and saw Hilfi holding a gun in her mother’s mouth, while her mother was on the floor screaming. Seekins said the daughter, who testified Monday, said Hilfi then pulled the gun out of her mother’s mouth and pointed it at her, threatening her.

“Do you believe her, when she said she saw the gun in her mom’s mouth?” Seekins posed to jurors after reviewing what Hilfi’s daughter, and later mother, testified happened. “Do you believe her when she said her dad then pointed the gun at her, and threatened her? Do you believe (Hilfi’s wife) when she said she felt the weight of the defendant on her and it felt suffocating? Do you believe her when she said when the defendant put the gun in her mouth, her only concern was for her children? Do you believe her … when she said she struggled to catch her breath? If you believe that, then your verdict today is guilty on all three charges.”

Avery-Youngblood said Hilfi’s wife is in the process of seeking a divorce from Hilfi and an issue in the divorce is whether he will have visitation rights with their four children. She said jurors should consider that may be a motivation for her in making the allegations against him.

She told jurors the inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony, especially over the date of the alleged crime, as well as other factors, are reason enough to constitute reasonable doubt, which she said should result in a verdict of not guilty.

Seekins told jurors Tuesday what happened to the mother and daughter is etched into their minds, even if they didn’t remember details such as the dates when the incident allegedly occurred.

The Kennebec Journal is not naming the woman or girl because its policy is to not identify victims of alleged domestic violence.


The trial involved multiple Arabic translators, for both the alleged victim and Hilfi.

Hilfi, dressed in a black suit, wore headphones during much of the trial so he could hear a translator tell him what Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy, lawyers for both sides and witnesses said in court.

Seekins said after the incident occurred, Hilfi’s wife fled with their children to Iraq but later returned.

Youngblood-Avery said when his family disappeared, Hilfi sought help finding them from Augusta police. She said police described him as cooperative and friendly to them. She said he has consistently maintained his innocence of the allegations against him.

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