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Man charged with Portland murder makes 1st court appearance

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Man charged with Portland murder makes 1st court appearance

PORTLAND — The man police say gunned down a friend Feb. 10 made his initial court appearance Tuesday.

Daudoit Butsitsi, 24, is charged with killing Serge Mulongo, also 24. Police believe Butsitsi shot Mulongo at around 11:15 p.m. Feb. 10 on the porch of an apartment building on Park Avenue.

On Tuesday, Butsitsi appeared in court with a court-appointed lawyer, Anthony Sineni. Superior Court Judge Robert Crowley inquired about Butsitsi's immigration status and English language skills.

Butsitsi declined having an interpreter. Sineni said his client's native language is Swahili, but that his English language skills are strong. He emigrated here 10 years ago, and is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mulongo was also a native of that country.

Butsitsi was not arraigned on the murder charge Tuesday because he has not been indicted by a grand jury. He is being held without bail at Cumberland County Jail. Deputy Attorney General Bill Stokes said Butsitsi will be held without bail until a bail hearing is scheduled.

More than 25 family members and friends of both the victim and the suspect packed the court room Tuesday morning. Six court security guards were also inside the courtroom.

Outside the courthouse after the hearing, Omega Jones, who said he was a close friend of Mulongo, said everyone he knows is in a "state of shock" over the murder.

"Nobody saw it coming," Jones said. He said he knew Mulongo from church and that his friend rarely missed service.

According to police, several emergency calls were placed at about 11:15 p.m. Feb. 10, all reporting hearing multiple gunshots in the area of Park Avenue and Weymouth Street.

Police found Mulongo on the side porch of 218 Park Ave., which is on the corner of Weymouth Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene, Capt. Ted Ross said.

Several witnesses reported seeing two black men in dark clothing fleeing the area after the shots were fired.

Butsitsi was charged with murder Feb. 12 after being interviewed by detectives at the Police Department. Ross did not rule out other arrests related to the murder.

Ross said detectives are working with the attorney general to figure out what the motive was for the shooting, the city's first murder of 2010.

Mulongo's 21-year-old brother, Yannick Mulongo, was charged in December with manslaughter. The charge was a result of a deadly car crash in September that killed Deering High School student Guy Kitoko.

Yannick Mulongo was driving under the influence, according to police. He is currently being held in Cumberland County Jail.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net