Abdihamit Ali, 23, is led into court Friday for his sentencing in the Riverton Park shooting that injured a woman and nearly hit a sleeping child. His sentencing was delayed after his attorneys submitted a motion for a new trial. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The sentencing of a Portland man convicted of assault for a shooting outside a public housing complex was delayed Friday after his attorneys petitioned the court for a new trial.

Abdihamit Ali, 23, was convicted in April of elevated aggravated assault, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and criminal mischief after a jury determined beyond a reasonable doubt that he fired several rounds near the Riverton Park public housing complex last September, wounding Marwa Mohammad, 20. Several bullets ricocheted off Mohammad’s parked car and hit a nearby apartment, one piercing a boy’s bedroom while he slept with his mother, according to trial testimony.

After multiple delays, Ali was scheduled Friday to receive his sentence for the three charges and possibly a fourth charge, possession of a firearm as a prohibited person. But as some 20 friends and family members of Ali and Mohammad filed into the courtroom, attorneys for both parties left to have an extended conversation with Cumberland County District Court Judge Maria Woodman. When they returned nearly an hour after the hearing’s scheduled start time, Woodman announced she would not issue a sentence until she could review and rule on the defense’s motion for a new trial.

The defense’s motion was not available for a reporter to review, and the defense did not explain its argument at Friday’s hearing. Woodman said Ali’s attorneys filed the motion after they received “some new information.”

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Ackerman objected to the defense’s push to delay sentencing. While she did not comment on the specific contents of the motion, she said they lacked merit.

“We take issue, strongly, with what has been presented by the defense as the basis for that motion,” she said.


Mohammad’s family members declined to discuss the case Friday.


Mohammad told police that she had been in a fight with Ali at the Woodfords Club hours before the shooting.

It was roughly 3 a.m. when she arrived in Riverton and saw an unknown vehicle driving toward her at “full speed,” according to an affidavit by Portland Police Detective Matthew Rider.

Abdihamit Ali in court Friday. His sentencing was delayed after attorneys submitted a motion for a new trial, saying they received “some new information.” Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

When the car stopped, a large man came out firing at her and walked toward her until they were face-to-face. She recognized him from the fight at Woodfords, Rider’s affidavit states.

“And he now asked her, ‘Do you want to die?’ before shooting her in the leg and saying, ‘Take it, (expletive),’” the affidavit states.


Hours later, Mohammad told police that she was familiar with the man who shot her but did not know his name. Officers showed her eight different black-and-white pictures and asked if she recognized the shooter. She pointed to a picture of Ali, the affidavit states.

“I am 1,000% positive it was him,” she stated.

Ali’s attorneys have argued that Mohammad misidentified him. They said the lineup was poorly conducted and that the officer was already familiar with Ali, running the risk that the lineup process was suggestive. There also weren’t enough people in the lineup who were Somali, like Mohammad and Ali, or who were his age. One person was pictured twice, the attorneys argued.

“There are more accurate ways to do photo identifications,” said Daniel Wentworth, one of Ali’s attorneys. “The Portland police don’t employ what’s largely considered to be the most accurate way they can do that.”

Woodman did rule Friday that Ali was guilty of possessing a firearm as a prohibited person after his other defense attorney, Zachary Fey, elected to not dispute the charge.

The defense may present testimony in support of its motion for a new trial on Sept. 14. If Woodman denies that motion, Ali will be sentenced that day.

Elevated aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is a Class A crime and carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Between all four charges, Ali faces a maximum sentence of 41 years.

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