Somali community leaders in Portland said a judge’s decision this week to vacate a manslaughter conviction in a high profile case is reopening old wounds. Mark Cardilli Jr., who is white, had been serving 7.5 years in prison for the 2019 killing of Isahak Muse, a young Somali-American man. Cardilli could now receive a new trial, pending an appeal from the state.
Cardilli’s conviction was vacated earlier this week after a superior court judge found that Cardilli’s original attorneys had offered “ineffective assistance” by failing to vigorously argue that their client was acting in self-defense.
Cardilli had been found guilty of manslaughter for fatally shooting Muse, who was unarmed, during a physical altercation the Cardilli family home in 2019. Muse was dating Cardilli’s sister at the time, and the killing set off racial justice protests in Portland.
Fatuma Hussein, with the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, said she wants the state to meet with Somali community members to hear their concerns about this case.
“And what we’re asking the state of Maine, specifically the Attorney General’s office, is to meet with us to talk through this process. And together to be able to obtain justice for Isahak Musa and his family,” Hussein said.
Cardilli’s bail was set at $20,000. Assistant state attorney general Leanne Robbin said the state will appeal.
Caitlin Andrews contributed to this report from Portland