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Victim's friends react to disturbing murder details

GARDINER (WGME) -- Friends of a Gardiner murder victim say the suspect, his son, is mentally ill, and that the crime could've been prevented.

"It's just awful," said Debbie Fuller, of Gardiner.

Fuller knew both Leroy Smith, Jr. and had seen his son, Leroy Smith III, walking around town. She says they never saw this coming.

The younger Smith is accused of killing his father on Saturday, dismembering the body, and dumping it into the woods in Richmond.

"Poor Leroy," said Jolene Hoch. "What must've been going through his head when (the attack) was happening?"

Smith told police and CBS 13 in an exclusive jailhouse interview that his father molested him, and that he killed his dad to get respect.

"It makes me sad how the media brought the molestation charge into it because we don't believe that at all. No," Fuller said.

Many other people don't believe it either. A donation site for Leroy Smith, Jr. has raised over $5,000.

Devin Smith, Smith's nephew, organized the page with help from his boss, Laura Benedict, at the Red Barn Restaurant in Augusta.

"It's just  unbelievable how the community can come together and get so much done," Devin Smith said.

"This is something that could've been prevented," added Benedict. "His father had been tormented (by Smith), but that parental love superceded everything."

Devin Smith says the money will cover his uncle's funeral costs. Any money raised beyond the cost of the funeral will be donated to charity.