Aristotle Stilley leaves the courtroom in Cumberland County Superior Court on Monday, the first day of his murder trial. Stilley is accused of killing David Anderson in Portland in 2016. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

They were watching TV when someone knocked on the door.

Abdirahman Abdullahi said he remembered getting up from the couch and looking through a peephole before asking the person outside to turnaround because they were facing away from the door.

David Anderson Photo courtesy of Anderson family

Then David Anderson did the same. Anderson opened the door just a crack – and was met with gunfire.

Abdullahi, 28, recalled the events of March 15, 2016, in Cumberland County Superior Court Monday during the first day of the weeklong jury trial of 27-year-old Aristotle Stilley.

Prosecutors say Stilley killed Anderson, who was 36 years old when he died “from a single, devastating gunshot” to his stomach, and assaulted Abdullahi, who took a bullet to the leg.

Stilley was indicted in August 2020 while living in California. He was extradited to Maine and pleaded not guilty in February 2021.


The shooting occurred just after 11 p.m. at an apartment on Gilman Street that police had been surveilling that month for suspected drug trafficking. The building’s property manager and other residents were concerned about the number of people coming in and out of apartment 305.

It took years for police to narrow in on a suspect. The gunman’s face was covered so that neither the witnesses nor the surveillance cameras in the hallway could identify him.

“A murder has been committed, there’s no doubt about that,” Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin told the jurors Monday. “The question for you all is going to be who did it.”

She told the jury that police identified Stilley through his girlfriend, Naja Lake. Lake did not testify Monday, but she is one of at least two dozen people whom the state plans to call on during trial.

Robbin said Lake and Stilley bought a gun together and that she drove him to the Gilman Street neighborhood the night of the shooting.

“Naja Lake knows who killed David Anderson and injured Abdi Abdullahi, because the shooter is this man,” said Robbin, pointing to Stilley in court, “her long-time boyfriend and the father of her children.”


One of Stilley’s attorneys, Stephen Shea, said there were no hairs, clothing fibers or DNA evidence linking Stilley to the scene. And even though police were aware of many people coming and going from that apartment, Stilley was not one of them.

“He’d never been to 88 Gilman St. before,” Shea told the jury. “What you’re going to see is a shortsighted, incomplete police investigation. You’re going to hear evidence about other potential suspects that could’ve been the shooter, with either limited or no follow up at all.”

The apartment building at 88 Gilman St., pictured in March 2016, where David Anderson was killed in a shooting that month. Derek Davis/ Staff Photographer


The 24-unit building on Gilman Street is run by Shalom House, a Portland nonprofit that helps people experiencing mental health challenges and homelessness by getting them into group homes and independent apartments.

Abdullahi said he had only been to the apartment a couple of times before the shooting. He was 21 at the time and had been living with his mother until a fight spurred him to move out.

There were about five or six other people in the apartment that night. He didn’t know the people who lived there well, and didn’t even know Anderson by his full name, but rather his nickname, “Shycago.”


When the gunfire started, Abdullahi said he could remember Anderson falling. Abdullahi was hiding in the bedroom when he realized he had been hit, too. After digging the bullet from his leg, he fled to his mother’s apartment. Police found him there and he was later treated at Maine Medical Center.

“I was just trying to get out of the area,” Abdullahi said. “I was scared, myself.”

The gunman left within minutes, according to surveillance video played for the jury.

The footage shows a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt walking down a brightly lit hallway toward apartment 305. He knocked on the door and then turned around with his back to the peephole. A few seconds later he pulls out a gun, turns and fires several times at the apartment. It’s difficult to tell from the video whether the door was fully open.

The jury also heard a brief, panicked 911 call made after the shooting by Anthony Osborne, a friend of Anderson’s who could have been an intended target, according to a tip police received in 2016. Osborne cries for an ambulance and refuses to give the names of anyone in the apartment.

Osborne testified Monday that he “military crawled” to Anderson in the bathroom and attempted CPR before police arrived.


Stilley’s attorneys questioned Osborne’s credibility, with Tina Nadeau pointing out that Osborne had given police his brother’s name when they arrived, afraid they would arrest him on outstanding warrants.

Nadeau also cited Osborne’s extensive criminal history, including a robbery conviction connected to the death of Derald “Darry” Coffin in 2022. Osborne is currently serving eight years in state prison.


Much of the state’s case hinges on Lake, who refused through a court-appointed attorney to testify Monday unless she is given immunity from any potential charges that could result from her testimony.

Superior Court Justice MaryGay Kennedy said she will decide on Lake’s request Tuesday morning before the jury returns. Robbin said prosecutors are willing to accept Lake’s request.

Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin addresses the jury during her opening statement in the murder trial against Aristotle Stilley, who is charged with killing David Anderson by shooting through the door of an apartment at 88 Gilman St. in 2016. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

The state’s case relies heavily on sworn testimony Lake delivered in a federal case some years after the shooting, during which Lake said that Stilley cried when she had asked him if the gun they had bought was used in the Gilman Street shooting. She also testified that on the morning after the shooting Stilley had told her to report their gun stolen.

Robbin suggested in her opening statements that the state has other evidence backing up these claims, including cellphone records showing Stilley and Lake called someone with connections to apartment 305 while they were driving to Portland the night of the shooting.

But Lake’s story has changed over the years. When she first spoke with police to report the gun stolen, she gave police an alibi that was later disproven.

Lake’s attorney said Monday that she’s now concerned her testimony won’t match what she said in her previous sworn testimony, and that she had felt pressured to implicate Stilley out of fear her daughter would be taken away.

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