Note: This story has been updated to remove identifying information about the juvenile suspect, who was found not guilty of solicitation for murder on July 16, 2024.

The father of a South Portland teen accused of attempting to recruit someone into a scheme to kill people in the South Portland High School community pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning to multiple charges stemming from a SWAT raid on the family’s Elm Street home in April.

At his brief arraignment in Cumberland County Superior Court the 50-year-old father pleaded not guilty to hindering police while they searched his home on April 12, obstructing them from arresting his 17-year-old son and refusing to submit to arrest.

His appearance Wednesday came a month after a Cumberland County grand jury indicted him on the three charges, which could carry a maximum prison sentence of 6 ½ years.

The hearing offered few new details about the investigation into the cases against both father and son. Most court records in both cases, including a warrant for the April 12 search or police affidavit, are sealed because of their ties to the juvenile case.

The teenager also appeared in court this week as a judge rejected his attorney’s motion to close the proceeding to the public. Strict laws surrounding public access to juvenile court files have left members of the South Portland school community waiting months for information about the arrest, which South Portland Police Chief Dan Ahern said likely stopped a violent attack. Police seized several high-powered rifles during the raid.


Neither men are currently in custody, according to court documents. The only condition of the father’s release is that he cannot keep firearms at the South Portland home where he lives with his son. Any conditions on the teenager’s custody arrangement have not been released.


On April 10, prosecutors and law enforcement officials met to discuss an investigation into a minor who they feared posed a threat to public safety, according to a statement later issued by Cumberland County District Attorney Jackie Sartoris. Two days later, police raided the teen’s home and arrested both him and his father. Ahern said the teen, whom police declined to name at the time, had made several threats to “cause serious harm to individuals and groups using specific weapons.”

Prosecutors say the father tried to stop police from arresting his son during the raid.

The father’s defense attorney Amber Tucker, said she was disappointed the state chose to prosecute her client, who she said acted only as a concerned parent.

“He came out of his home only to see a SWAT team with numerous assault rifles pointed at his son’s head. He tried to learn what was going on and was shot with a bean bag gun, causing serious injury and hospitalization,” she said. “We look forward to (my client’s) day in court as I have full confidence that he will be exonerated of these allegations by a fair and impartial jury of his peers.”


Tucker and her client declined to comment about the case after Monday’s proceedings and didn’t answer follow up messages about how they expect the case to proceed.

Immediately after the raid in April, the teenager was charged with arson, criminal mischief and theft. A charging document referenced a stolen flag and a damaged trash bin but did not specify whether the teen is accused of burning the flag or something else. Prosecutors filed more charges this month – criminal solicitation of murder, arson and terrorizing.

The new charging document alleges that sometime between Aug. 1 and Nov. 30, 2022, the teen, “under circumstances that he believed made it probable that the crime would take place … did command or attempt to induce another person … to commit murder against faculty, staff and/or students at South Portland High School.”

The terrorizing charge stems from an incident prosecutors said happened between May 1 and Aug. 11 of this year – after his initial arrest – when the teen threatened another person by making a throat-slitting gesture.

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