March 15, 2010

Beating victim had struggled with drugs


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Photo by John Ewing/Staff Photographer.. Monday, August 18, 2008... Frank Williams III's girlfriend, Melody Fournier and his one year old daughter, Isabella, at her Biddeford home. Williams was beaten and stabbed to death early Saturday morning in Portland's Kennedy Park.

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Photo by John Ewing/Staff Photographer.. Monday, August 18, 2008...Family photo of Frank Williams III who was beaten and stabbed to death near Kennedy Park on Saturday morning.

Staff Writer

The victim of a fatal stabbing in Portland's East Bayside neighborhood was a troubled man with a criminal past who struggled with drug abuse.

That's the portrait that family members and friends painted of Frank A. Williams III, who died on Saturday at Maine Medical Center after he was beaten and stabbed by a group of young men who chased him across a soccer field near the Kennedy Park housing project.

Williams, 37, worked on commercial fishing boats in Portland, said his father, also named Frank Williams. He was not married but left behind a 1-year-old daughter in Biddeford and a 14-year-old son in the midcoast, said Williams, who lives in Biddeford.

Lt. Tony Ward said Portland police continue to interview witnesses in the case but have not made any arrests. He would not comment on a possible motive or on previous remarks by interim Chief Joseph Loughlin that drugs might have been involved in the attack.

A group of eight males, ranging from teenagers to men in their mid-20s, chased Williams across the soccer field on Fox Street about 1:40 a.m. Saturday and attacked him until he crawled under a fence, police said.

He died soon after being taken to the hospital.

An autopsy done Saturday evening revealed that Williams died of multiple stab wounds, said a spokeswoman at the state Medical Examiner's Office.

Ward said Williams had a criminal history and was known by Portland police, but he would not provide details.

Williams' father said his son had trouble with drugs but worked hard as a commercial fisherman. He disputed media reports that described his son as homeless and transient, saying he lived with family members or friends and sometimes stayed on fishing boats.

Williams said he has been interviewed by police and is anxious for them to catch the people who are responsible for his son's death, to ease the concerns of the family.

''They're stunned by all this,'' he said. ''They don't know what to think.''

Melody Fournier of Biddeford, a former girlfriend who said she is the mother of Williams' daughter, Isabella, described Williams as a man with a big heart who couldn't conquer a drug habit.

''He loved his daughter very much, and his son, talked about them all the time, carried pictures of them,'' she said. ''And he really tried to get better. It just didn't work for him.''

Fournier said she and Williams broke up about a year ago, not long before their child was born, but said he still visited periodically.

She said Williams enjoyed working as a fisherman and also held other jobs. But he had spent four years in prison for robbery, she said, and couldn't stay out of trouble.

Williams was convicted in Cumberland County Superior Court for a 1999 robbery and began serving his sentence in 2002, court records show.

He also had convictions for theft, forgery and burglary.

Fournier said Williams had recently been involved in several assaults over drugs and told her that she might not be seeing too much more of him.

''No matter what he's done in the past, he didn't deserve to die like that,'' she said. ''And his daughter will grow up fatherless and never know who he was.''

Staff Writer Dieter Bradbury can be reached at 791-6329 or at:

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