Portland police to allocate more time to unsolved homicides

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Portland Police Chief Frank Clark Monday announced an arrest in a previously unsolved, decade-old homicide, the third cold case police have solved in the last year.

Clark said Abdi Awad, 35, was arrested and charged with murder for the death of Allen MacLean, 41, of South Portland. MacLean was shot and killed in the area of Congress Street and Massachusetts Avenue in Portland on Aug. 1, 2011.

Portland Police Chief Frank Clark on Monday, Aug. 9, announces the arrest of Abdi Awad in the 2011 murder of Allen MacLean. (Portland Phoenix/Colin Ellis)

Clark would not go into the specifics of the case or the investigation, but said Awad was charged on Aug. 5. Portland Police Department detectives worked on the case and recently presented evidence to the attorney general’s office as well as a grand jury, Clark said in a press conference.

Awad is in custody at the Maine State Prison in Warren, where he was served with this notice of arrest last week. He will remain in the state prison until he is arraigned, Clark said, although police are not sure when that will happen.

Clark said this leaves the city with 13 unsolved homicides, and urged anyone who thinks they have information on these cases to reach out to police.

“Like all unsolved cases … this was not forgotten,” the chief said.

Clark said he hopes the arrest brings closure to MacLean’s friends and family and provides a sense of hope to relatives of the victims in the remaining unsolved homicides.

Clark said the Police Department will be allocating more time and resources to these unsolved cases, including having a detective assigned to investigating these cases full time. Previously, detectives were assigned the cold case files in addition to their regular work.

He said circumstances led to a detective having additional time to focus on the MacLean case. “We’re committed to building on this work,” the chief said.

This is the third previously unsolved homicide the department has solved in recent months.

In October 2020, police announced Aristotle Stilley was arrested in California and indicted in Maine for the 2016 murder of David Anderson, who was shot and killed in his apartment on Gilman Street. And in April of this year, Zachary Phach and Khang Tran were indicted and charged with murder, aggravated attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault, and conspiracy for the 2012 death of Matthew Blanchard, who was shot and killed in the area of Congress and India streets.

Clark said these cases being solved should be a warning to the perpetrators in the remaining unsolved homicides.

“To those who commit these heinous crimes,” he said, “… it’s just a matter of time until we’re knocking on your door.”