Defense attorney Verne Paradie shares a moment with his client, Abdi Awad, 37, after he was sentenced Tuesday to serve 11 years in prison for felony murder in the death of Allen MacLean in 2011. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

It’s been 12 years since Allen MacLean died of a gunshot wound to the chest early one August morning in front of a Mobil gas station in Portland.

Abdi Awad pleaded guilty last month to killing MacLean, 41, and was sentenced Tuesday to serve 11 years of a 30-year sentence for felony murder.

Allen MacLean was 41 when he was killed by Abdi Awad in 2011. Photo courtesy of the Office of the Maine Attorney General

MacLean’s family said Tuesday that they were in the dark for much of the 10 years it took investigators to make an arrest. Even after Awad, 37, was indicted in 2021, they struggled with important milestones like birthday parties and holidays being replaced with court dates and hearings.

“As a family, we tried to muster on, attempting to figure out how to piece back our shattered lives,” MacLean’s daughter Kayla wrote in a statement to the court that Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Ackerman read on Tuesday. “A piece of all of us died on Aug. 1, 2011 – the day Abdi Awad robbed my father of his life.”

Awad, who spent much of that time at the Maine State Prison for an unrelated assault conviction, said he has become a different person from the man who shot and killed MacLean. He earned his master’s degree in adult and higher education. He teaches yoga. He serves on several boards and advisory committees beyond prison walls, including the University of Maine and the NAACP.

“I’m not the person I was 12 years ago,” Awad said in court Tuesday. “I was lost. I didn’t know how I fit into the world. I didn’t understand what role I play in society.”


Awad began his sentence Tuesday, but his attorney said he will get credit for the time he’s served since the charges were announced in 2021.

Under the plea deal, Awad also will serve four years’ probation, during which he’s barred from contacting MacLean’s family.

Kayla MacLean said Awad’s sentence is “nothing compared to taking my father’s life.”

Prosecutors said they had to reach a deal because as the case got older, the evidence grew more circumstantial. Investigators didn’t have the cellphone records or surveillance footage they would have today. Some of the witnesses named in court records have died.

Awad said he agreed to the plea and sentencing deal to accept responsibility.

Standing between his attorneys in a bright yellow jumpsuit and speaking softly, Awad said he knows what it’s like “to lose family and close friends to gun violence.”



It’s unclear from court records why it took 10 years to indict Awad.

A friend of MacLean’s told police in 2011 that he had taken MacLean downtown to withdraw cash from the ATM by Mobil on the Run, according to a police affidavit from June 4, 2021.

Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills agreed Tuesday to sentence Abdi Awad, 37, to serve 11 years of a 30-year sentence for felony murder in the death of Allen MacLean in 2011. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

MacLean’s friend told police that MacLean was planning to buy cocaine from his source, “Ali,” whom the friend never saw, the affidavit states.

Surveillance video showed MacLean unsuccessfully trying to withdraw money from the ATM. The same camera showed Awad buying an orange Gatorade.

Officers included in the affidavit said they recognized Awad from their work investigating a drug trafficking operation.


Other witnesses said Awad was with them at an apartment across the street from the gas station. They said he was constantly going outside and spent a lot of time on his phone, the affidavit states.

One woman told police that Awad had mentioned a white man named “Allen,” whom she didn’t know. She said she later heard Awad and another man, who she assumed to be Allen, shouting at each other about money.

Awad had left the apartment for the last time when the people inside said they heard gunshots around 4 a.m. Awad never returned, the affidavit states.

An officer who arrived at the scene said he saw a Black man in dark clothing running from behind the apartment, going northeast. Police later recovered the gun that was used to shoot MacLean.

Federal agents arrested Awad in Texas on Aug. 22, 2011, weeks after the shooting, on a warrant for an unrelated assault charge. Awad had stabbed a bouncer at Morill’s Corner in March 2011.

His defense attorney said he was visiting family in Texas for Ramadan.



Allen MacLean Photo courtesy of the Office of the Maine Attorney General

MacLean’s family including his mother, daughter and the mother of his child gathered in the courtroom Tuesday, filling the front row.

They sat tearfully, listening as a Somali translator interpreted the hearing for Awad’s family in Texas, who attended via Zoom.

Stephanie Trott, Kayla MacLean’s mother, said Awad robbed her of the “love of her life.”

MacLean’ sister, one of two family members who spoke in-person, stepped behind Awad as he sat at the defense table and told the judge that Awad had robbed her of her best friend.

Kayla MacLean said Awad robbed her of a fishing buddy, camping guide and devoted fan.


“He was my swimming partner. We went to countless swimming holes,” she wrote. “I wish I knew where those are now. I just can’t send him a text, asking for advice, or call him to hit the beach to pass a frisbee.”

In her statement to the court, Kayla MacLean lamented the lost milestones with her father and the presence Awad’s court case has had over their lives.

For years, MacLean wrote that she dreamed of dancing with her father at her upcoming wedding to the song “Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle, because of the butterfly kisses her dad gave her when she was younger.

After Awad’s plea hearing on Aug. 28, Kayla Maclean said she was at her grandmother’s house and saw a butterfly on the patio.

“I’d like to think that my dad was there with all of us, while we digested the news that you were pleading guilty,” she wrote.

She declined to comment after the hearing.



The several friends and colleagues who testified on Awad’s behalf Tuesday said he was part of a small fraction of prisoners who take advantage of the Department of Correction’s rehabilitation programs.

Awad said it wasn’t until he was in a maximum security unit at the Cumberland County Jail that he read his first book.

He later earned an associate degree, then a bachelor’s and more recently a master’s.

Abdi Awad, 37, listens in court Tuesday as he is sentenced to serve 11 years in prison for felony murder in the death of Allen MacLean in 2011. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Staff from the University of Southern Maine, where Awad has been studying, said Tuesday that he was an advocate for other students who have dealt with the criminal justice system, as well as members of the immigrant community.

“All he wants to do is give back and to help other people,” said Skye Adams, who told the judge she knew Awad through yoga.

Others who served time with him at the state prison said he was a regular sounding board and role model in their journeys to pursue higher education.

Brandon Brown, a current doctoral candidate at George Mason University who was at the Maine State Prison when Awad arrived in 2012, said Tuesday that Awad deserves to use what he’s learned and accomplished outside prison.

“There is no sentence that can console the (MacLean) family in the way that they deserve to be consoled,” Brown said. “What I know to be true is that every day that Abdi spends inside of a prison, is a day that his life is robbed from those of us that need him out here.”

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