An investigator searches the pond at Deering Oaks for evidence on Sept. 8, 2022, a day after the fatal shooting that claimed the life of Walter Omal, 31, of Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

A Boston-area man facing a murder charge for a shooting in Deering Oaks in September pleaded not guilty Friday.

Amin Awes Mohamed, of Roxbury, Massachusetts, was indicted on one count of knowing or intentional murder in October. Police arrested him within 24 hours of the death of Walter Omal, a 31-year-old man from Portland who was shot at Deering Oaks park on Sept.  7.

An affidavit for Mohamed’s arrest remains sealed and the Maine Attorney General’s Office has not released information on why it believes Mohamed shot Omal.

Police previously said Omal was shot near a couple of park benches facing a pond at the park, near the intersection of Park Avenue and State Street. He was one of several people gathered in the park that evening.

More than 100 people gathered near those benches a week later to hold a vigil in Omal’s memory. His death was part of a spike in violent crime across the city that has prompted more patrols, including in Deering Oaks.

Before Mohamed’s arrest, police drained the pond so half a dozen investigators wearing waterproof gear could search the muddy area for a gun and other evidence using their feet, rakes, shovels and metal detectors.


A few weeks later, the site became a campaign stop for Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage, who wanted to talk to voters about crime.

Family and friends gather for a candlelight vigil in honor of Walter Omal, 31, in Deering Oaks Park on Sept. 14. Omal was shot in the park on Sept. 7 and died the following day. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Mohamed’s defense attorney, Peter Richard, and Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea met for a status conference before Mohamed’s arraignment on Friday. They asked Cumberland County Superior Justice John O’Neil to schedule another private meeting to go over scheduling in December.

At Friday’s hearing, Zainea told Richard that she plans to turn over the state’s discovery materials next week. Richard told Mohamed they’ll meet in person once he has those documents.

Mohamed is currently being held at the York County Jail but was previously booked in Cumberland County. It’s not clear why he was moved. He is ineligible for bail and is planning to appeal that decision.

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