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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — For the first time, Maine is seeking to use a new law that prosecutors say would allow the involuntary administration of psychiatric medication of a man charged with killing and dismembering his father.
Police charged Leroy Smith III of Gardiner with the May 2014 killing of Leroy Smith Jr. inside an apartment they shared, and the state's forensic service later evaluated Smith and found he had acute delusional thinking. He was declared not competent to stand trial and was sent to Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.
Under the law that went on the books this summer, Assistant Attorney General Deborah Cashman is asking a judge to authorize Riverview staff to administer psychiatric medicine to Smith against his will.
Her motion states that Smith has refused medication at Riverview, and also includes a letter from a mental health nurse at the hospital saying that medication is "substantially likely" to render Smith competent.
"The state has an interest in restoring him to competency to allow this case to move forward, both for the victims and the state as a whole," Cashman said. "This is a brand new law, so I can't look to any precedent for it."
An attorney conference on the case is set for Sept. 22. Cashman said the date of a court hearing, which is necessary for the application of involuntary treatment to go forward, will likely be set on that day.
Smith's attorney, Scott Hess of Augusta, declined to comment.
Jenna Mehnert, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, called forced medicine "problematic," and said the practice could sacrifice real treatment of Smith's mental health for his criminal prosecution.
"There's no magic mental health pill that will suddenly make someone competent," Mehnert said.
Police allege Smith killed his father by stabbing him in the neck and using knives to chop up his body before burying him in the woods. Smith says in a police affidavit that he killed his father because his father sexually assaulted him throughout his life.
At a court appearance in May 2014, he declared himself "the Lord, Father of life" and asked the media to start following him on Twitter.