Jonathan Alas, 27, pleaded not guilty to the murder charge against him Wednesday in the death of Christopher Godin this year. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

A Portland man accused by prosecutors of stabbing his neighbor to death pleaded not guilty to a murder charge Wednesday.

Jonathan Alas, 27, has been charged in the death of Christopher Godin, 58, who once ran a popular burrito shop in the Old Port. Alas’ trial is tentatively scheduled for August 2024.

Christopher Godin Photo courtesy of Sue Ericson

Both men lived at 263 Cumberland Ave., where police found Godin dead with multiple stab wounds by the apartment’s main entrance on Feb. 17. Alas was found in his apartment, two doors down from Godin’s on the first floor, with a single puncture wound in his abdomen.

First responders brought him to Maine Medical Center, where, days later, he made his first court appearance via Zoom and a judge ordered that he be held without bail.

One of several neighbors who spoke with police told officers that he called 911 after he saw a younger man with dark hair stabbing Godin with what looked like a kitchen knife, according to an affidavit filed by Portland Detective Andjelko Napijalo.

The neighbor didn’t identify the man as Alas, but believed he was on drugs because “he seemed to be pretty mellow about the whole thing,” the affidavit states.


“He turned around and looked at me, and he turned back and stabbed (Godin) again,” the neighbor said. “Like he wasn’t in any type of shock at all.”

Alas entered Cumberland County Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon wearing a formal gray overcoat and a collared shirt. His statements were brief – he assured the judge that he understood his rights and the nature of his indictment. He waived an option to have that indictment read to him.

Alas’ attorney, Matthew Crockett, said that it is still too early to say whether he and co-counsel James Howaniec will request a Harnish hearing to reconsider bail.

The arraignment offered no new details on the state’s case against Alas, nor any insights on a potential motive for the alleged attack.

The apartment building at 263 Cumberland Ave, where Christopher Godin was killed in February. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

An affidavit for Alas’ arrest confirmed that the two were neighbors for several months before Godin’s death.

Several neighbors who spoke with police mentioned a shirtless young man with dark hair, who was either holding or standing near a large knife, according to the affidavit.


Police said they later found three Farberware kitchen knives in Alas’ apartment – a large steak knife with a bloody blade and handle, and two smaller knives across the room near a large puddle of blood.

Police also found an empty package for the knives nearby, with a Renys price sticker on the front, the affidavit states.

Surveillance footage from the Renys on Congress Street showed Alas purchasing a package of Farberware knives from the store on the morning of Jan. 13 for $9.48.

Blood patterns in Alas’ apartment suggested he was not bleeding prior to entering the unit, the affidavit states.

In Godin’s apartment the day after his death, there was some blood on the doorknob and the doorframe inside. A bed in the middle of the apartment was made, with a pair of blue jeans, a black plastic bag and a pack of wipes on top. The TV was still on. There was a yellow bike on the floor by the door, the affidavit states.

Godin was well known in Portland as the founder of Granny’s Burritos, a restaurant that for many years was synonymous with Old Port nightlife before it moved to the Portland Public Market and closed in 2017.


Friends said that Godin was a kind and generous business owner.

“There was never anyone in the world as kind,” Jeff Glidden, a friend of Godin’s, said in February. “He was so loving, and so full of life. He never cared much about his own circumstance, you know. He was just always there for you with a smile.”

Alas has a criminal background that includes convictions for domestic violence assault in 2018 and 2019, and for indecent conduct, aggravated assault and attempted unlawful sexual contact in 2020, according to records from the Maine State Bureau of Identification.

In the 2020 case, according to an affidavit filed by Westbrook police, Alas attempted to force himself on a woman at Spring Harbor Hospital, a psychiatric facility where he was sent after prison, as the two were hanging out in the community room watching a movie and talking.

He pulled the woman into his room and dropped his pants, but she was able to leave. He later entered the woman’s room, attempted to force himself on her and pulled her pants down, but a nurse walked in, the affidavit states.

His attorney at the time said the allegations against Alas “do not illustrate the rational actions of a rational human being,” court records said.

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