FARMINGTON – New charges were added Friday to those against a Norridgewock man who is accused of taking a paper mill’s manager hostage during an armed standoff with police in Jay on Wednesday.

Francis Smith III, 50, is accused of kidnapping Marc Connor, who police said was held at gunpoint in the mill for nearly seven hours before being set free unharmed Wednesday afternoon.

Smith, a former employee of the mill, is also accused of threatening several other mill employees with a gun during the incident, which ended when he surrendered to state police without firing a shot.

In Farmington District Court on Friday, Smith, in an orange prison jumpsuit, handcuffs and leg shackles, made curt responses and several times interrupted the judge to acknowledge that he understood his rights.

Smith confirmed that he is unemployed and agreed to have the attorney representing him Friday, Margot Joly, be one of two court-appointed attorneys in the case. Smith said “she seems nice” when asked by the judge whether he wanted Joly to represent him along with a less experienced attorney. He turned to Joly, said, “Are you nice?” and smiled.

During the brief initial court appearance, Judge Valerie Stanfill ordered that Smith be held on $50,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond, along with other conditions. His next court date is April 20, when the status of the case will be discussed by attorneys.

Smith initially was charged with kidnapping and terrorizing, but prosecutors dropped the terrorizing charge in favor of criminal-threatening charges stemming from the other mill employees who were affected.

Stanfill also ordered that Smith be transferred from the county jail to the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta as soon as the state can schedule a psychological review for Smith.

The judge ordered that Smith be committed to the psychiatric center for as long as 60 days for the review and any treatment doctors deem necessary.

After the hearing, Smith’s father and sister declined to talk with reporters outside the courthouse.

Joly said Smith’s family is “so grateful that nobody died” and wants to thank police for how they handled the incident.

Joly said that Smith’s behavior in the courtroom shows he has mental health problems, and that his comments indicate he doesn’t understand the seriousness of the charges against him.

Smith was armed with a shotgun when he burst into a building at Verso Paper’s Androscoggin Mill about 9 a.m. Wednesday, police said.

Mill employees tried to disarm him and Smith pulled out a handgun, threatening them before making his way to the mill manager’s office

Smith locked himself in the office with Marc Connor, 43, starting a nine-hour standoff that ended when Smith surrendered to state police.

Connor was freed after Smith spoke by telephone for several hours with state police negotiators, police said.

The kidnapping charge against Smith carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum of four years.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer David Robinson can be contacted at 861-9287 or at:

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