An inmate at the Maine State Prison has been indicted on a murder charge in a decade-old cold case homicide in Portland, the city’s police department said Monday.

Abdi Awad

Abdi Awad, who is serving an 18-year sentence for elevated aggravated assault, has been charged with murder in Allen MacLean’s 2011 death.

Police Chief Frank Clark declined to discuss details of how and why Awad, 35, was charged now, or what new evidence, techniques or information helped secure the indictment. It also was not known if Awad and MacLean knew each other.

Awad’s earliest possible release date was approaching on Aug. 18, according to a state directory of prisoners. Awad will remain in custody at the prison until he is arraigned, but there is no date set for him to appear in Portland Unified Criminal Court.

Allen MacLean Photo courtesy Portland Police Department

MacLean, a 41-year-old South Portland resident, was shot in the chest near Massachusetts Avenue and Congress Street on Aug. 1, 2011. MacLean ran toward Congress Street looking for help before he collapsed and died.

Detectives served the arrest warrant to Awad at the prison on Friday. He could be arraigned as soon as this week, police said.

“I want to thank the officers and detectives involved in the initial response and the ongoing investigation,” Clark said in a statement. “I hope their perseverance, and this arrest, on the 10th anniversary of Allen’s death, will help bring some degree of closure to his family and friends.”

The charge against Awad brings the number of unsolved Portland homicides to 13, Clark said.

“I assure you we remain just as interested and committed to bringing closure to the families of those victims,” he said during an afternoon news conference. “To those who have committed such a heinous crime here in the city, I want you to know that it may be just a matter of time before we’re knocking on your door.”

Going forward, one of the city’s detectives will be dedicated to re-examining old unsolved killings as long as crime in Portland remains low and the workload among the criminal investigation division allows it.

Clark also asked for the public’s help to bring new leads forward.

“There are people out there with information,” he said. “There are people out there who know what happened in some of these cases. If you’re listening, I’m imploring you to do what’s right and to help these families who are continuing to grieve.”

MacLean’s shooting death followed a late-night party in the area. Neighbors and workers who were in the area summoned police after hearing at least one gunshot at 4:26 a.m. on Aug. 1.

A witness, Jim Bellanceau, said he was waiting at a nearby convenience store on Congress Street when he heard shots. MacLean ran across Congress Street looking for help and collapsed in front of a gas station there. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. The Medical Examiner’s Office determined that MacLean died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.

It appeared that MacLean was shot in an alley next to an apartment building at 4-6 Massachusetts Ave., and then ran toward the road. Witnesses reported MacLean yelling as he ran: “I’m dying. I’m dying.”

Police recovered a handgun near the scene, but witnesses were not cooperative during the early stages of the investigation. The one-page indictment said MacLean was shot with .380 auto Kel-Tec, a compact, powerful semi-automatic pistol.

Court records for Awad’s murder case contain no narrative of the incident or explanation of how detectives came to focus on him.

Awad’s criminal history dates to 2006, when he was 21, according to records provided by the state Bureau of Identification. His first felonies came in 2009, when he was charged with robbery and criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon. But he pleaded guilty to lesser charges and was sentenced to six months in jail. The most serious charges came a short time later in 2011.

At that time, police charged him with elevated aggravated assault for stabbing the bouncer at a chemical-free party in Morrill’s Corner. He was sentenced to serve 18 years of a 25-year sentence. It’s unclear why his release date was moved up from the time he was sentenced in 2012, but in general prisoners can earn time off their sentence for good behavior and other favorable behavior.

Allen Patric MacLean, who went by “A.P.,” was remembered by family members and friends in his obituary as someone who loved life, and enjoyed fishing with his father, sister and uncle. He also liked to play basketball and Frisbee, and was a diehard fan of the New England Patriots and the Boston Red Sox. MacLean enjoyed writing poetry and had a gift for it, his family said. But he was most comfortable when he was spending time in the outdoors.

MacLean was born in Portland on Nov. 23, 1969, the son of Robert Allen MacLean and Linda R. Frost. He attended local schools and earned his GED from Portland High School.

His mother and daughter did not return messages left Monday.

In the last 11 months, Portland detectives cleared two other cold-case murders. Clark said that decreasing crime during the global pandemic and the corresponding fewer criminal cases assigned to detectives meant there was more time to work on cold cases.

In October 2020, Aristotle Stilley was arrested in California following his indictment in Cumberland County for the 2016 murder of David Anderson, who was shot and killed inside an apartment on Gilman Street. Stilley remains in custody, police said.

Then in April, Zachary Phach and Khang Tran were indicted and charged with murder, aggravated attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault and conspiracy in the 2012 death of Matthew Blanchard. Both are in custody, police said.

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