Adam Hamilton, the father of a South Portland teenager who was accused of planning a school shooting, was arraigned Wednesday in Cumberland County Superior Court on charges of resisting arrest and obstruction of justice. Hamilton pleaded not guilty on all counts. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

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, Adam Hamilton, 50, pleaded not guilty to hindering police while they searched his home on April 12, obstructing them from arresting his son, 17-year-old Tristan Hamilton, 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.

Hamilton made an unsuccessful run for the South Portland school board in 2021. Several Islamophobic and transphobic memes and statements he posted in 2019 resurfaced during his campaign and drew criticism from public officials. Hamilton distanced himself from the statements, saying he had evolved and they did not represent who he was.

The hearing offered few new details about the investigation into the cases against Hamilton or his 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.

Tristan Hamilton 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 Hamilton is currently in custody, according to court documents. The only condition of Adam Hamilton’s release is that he cannot keep firearms at the South Portland home where he lives with his son. Any conditions on Tristan Hamilton’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 Adam Hamilton tried to stop police from arresting his son during the raid.

This month, the elder Hamilton’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 Mr. Hamilton’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.”


Adam Hamilton and Tucker 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, Tristan Hamilton 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 teenager 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 younger Hamilton, “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 Hamilton threatened another person by making a throat-slitting gesture.

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