Jonathan Alas, who was charged with murder in the death of Christopher Godin last year, looks around the Cumberland County Court House in April 2023 shortly after entering the room for his arraignment. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

A Portland man who police say stabbed his neighbor to death more than a year ago has entered an insanity plea.

Jonathan Alas, 29, was arrested in February 2023 and charged with murder in connection with the death of Christopher Godin.

Christopher Godin Photo courtesy of Sue Ericson

Godin, who was 58, once ran the popular Granny’s Burritos shop in the Old Port. Friends remembered Godin as someone who was full of life and cared for everyone, regardless of circumstance.

Alas pleaded not guilty to the charge in April. On Wednesday, he appeared in Cumberland County Superior Court to add a plea of not criminally responsible by reason of insanity. Should his case go to trial, that means there could be two trials: one to determine if he’s guilty of the crime, and one to determine whether he is criminally responsible based on his mental state at the time. He is currently scheduled for trial in January.

Little was said in court Wednesday as Superior Justice Deborah Cashman accepted Alas’ plea.

His attorney, Matthew Crockett, said afterward that the defense team decided to add the plea after reading the findings of a Maine State Forensic Service review related to Alas’ mental condition. Crockett did not elaborate on what that report said. It was unavailable shortly after Alas’ hearing, according to a clerk.


Assistant Attorney General Bud Ellis said that the state was not requesting any additional testing at this time.

Both Alas and Godin lived at 263 Cumberland Ave., where last February police found Godin lying near the apartment’s main entrance with multiple stab wounds, according to a police affidavit.

Officers found Alas in his apartment shortly afterward with a single puncture wound in his abdomen. He was treated at Maine Medical Center and later transferred to the Cumberland County jail, where he remains in custody without bail.

One of several neighbors who spoke with police in February 2023 told officers that he saw a younger man with dark hair stabbing Godin with what looked like a kitchen knife, according to a police affidavit.

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.

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

The affidavit suggests Alas had stabbed Godin using a steak knife he had been seen purchasing at the Reny’s on Congress Street a month earlier.

Police said they found three Faberware kitchen knives in Alas’ apartment, including a large steak knife covered in blood, and an empty package for the knives nearby with a Reny’s sticker on the front. Surveillance footage from the store showed Alas purchasing the package on the morning of Feb. 13 for $9.48, the affidavit states.

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