Three men accused of beating and kicking a Portland man to death in his Cumberland Avenue apartment in August each pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge of murder.

Abil Teshome, 23, Osman Sheikh, 31, and Mohamud Mohamed, 37, all of Portland, have been in custody since their arrests on Aug. 13, when they were charged with killing 49-year-old Freddy Akoa.

At hearings in the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland, Justice Thomas Warren set bail for each man at $500,000 cash at the request of a prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General John Alsop.

Attorneys for each of the men told the judge that they would not contest Alsop’s bail request for now and each reserved the right to request a bail hearing at a later date.

“At this point, we really don’t have much information other than what is in the (police) affidavit,” Mohamed’s attorney, Peter Cyr, said outside the courthouse after the hearing.

Cyr said that once he and the other defense attorneys receive more information from the prosecution about the allegations against their clients, they may have a better basis to argue for a lesser bail amount.

The three accused men appeared in court a day after their arrests, but they were not required to enter a plea at that time. The Cumberland County grand jury returned murder indictments against them last month, which required them to now enter their pleas.

Teshome, Sheikh and Mohamed were led into the courtroom one at a time before the judge for brief hearings Tuesday, each speaking only to say he understood the charge and to enter his plea.

The three suspects are accused of beating, kicking and bashing Akoa in the head with furniture on the night of Aug. 9 in an assault that lasted for hours in his apartment while drinking was going on, according to an affidavit filed by Portland police Detective Christopher Giesecke to obtain warrants for their arrests.

Akoa had 22 rib fractures from the savage attack, cuts and bruises all over his head and torso, and a lacerated liver when his accused killers left him on his living room floor in Apartment 18 at 457 Cumberland Ave. on the following morning.

The men were seen in surveillance footage entering the apartment building with Akoa and a woman at 4:40 p.m. on Aug. 9. Police learned of Akoa’s death two days later when his mother became concerned that she couldn’t reach her son and asked the apartment building management to go into his apartment to check on him, according to the affidavit.

Police found Teshome, Mohamed and Sheikh in Deering Oaks park on the morning of Aug. 13 and arrested Teshome on a charge of criminal trespassing.

“Teshome said he lost control of himself and started hitting Akoa several times in the head. Teshome admitted to punching and kicking Akoa multiple times and knocking him to the ground. Teshome also stated that he also struck Akoa with his hands and feet while Akoa was lying on the ground,” Giesecke wrote.

Teshome also allegedly confessed that he used a board from a makeshift coffee table to beat Akoa over the head and to strike his foot, the affidavit says.

“(Teshome) said that he and Sheikh left Akoa’s apartment around the same time and that he believed Akoa was alive when he left,” Giesecke wrote.

Video surveillance footage from the apartment building shows the woman and Mohamed leaving the building at 5:38 a.m. on Aug. 10, but Teshome and Sheikh cannot be seen in the footage, the affidavit says.

Police did not charge the woman in connection with Akoa’s death.

If convicted of murder, each of the men will face a minimum of 25 years and up to life in prison.


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