AUGUSTA, Maine — A 26-year-old man accused of killing and dismembering his father in their Gardiner apartment in 2014 has made significant progress since a judge ordered him forcibly medicated six months ago, but he still fully believes a “very complex” delusion, including that his father was trying to poison him, state psychologists told a Kennebec County Superior Court justice Thursday morning.

After several hours of testimony, Justice Donald Marden returned Leroy Smith III to Riverview Psychiatric Center, where he has remained for much of the past two years. Marden ordered that Smith receive continued treatment with antipsychotic medications to see if he can become competent to stand trial for murder.

Marden then ruled that Smith was competent to be arraigned. Smith stood beside defense attorney Pam Ames and told Marden he wanted to plead not guilty.

Marden, however, told Smith he would instead enter a plea of not criminally responsible.

Assistant Attorney General Don Macomber, who is prosecuting the case, told Marden he would not object to that plea.

Wearing a black T-shirt with the words “Fire is with or against you … and so it burns” in large letters on the back, Smith appeared Thursday before Marden in Kennebec County Superior Court, as Marden evaluated whether Smith has become, or could become, competent to stand trial for the murder of his father.

Smith was arrested on May 6, 2014, and charged with intentional or knowing murder or depraved indifference murder after police said he killed and dismembered his father, 56-year-old Leroy Smith II, and then placed the remains in a wooded area along a dirt road in Richmond. He has been in state custody since that day.

In January 2015, after a state forensic expert testified that Leroy Smith III likely suffers from schizophrenia, paranoid schizophrenia or delusional disorder — according to Ames, he has since been diagnosed with delusional disorder — and believes the primary role of his attorneys is to put him in touch with heavy metal rock bands so he could tell them he is God, Marden ruled Smith was not competent to stand trial and ordered him committed to Riverview.

A year later, under a state law enacted in July, Marden ruled in favor of a motion by the prosecution to involuntarily medicate Smith for six months to see if that would affect his competency.

Dr. Peter Donnelly, a self-employed psychologist who contracts with the state forensic service, and Dr. Ann LeBlanc, director of the state forensic service, agreed Thursday that Smith understands the charges against him and the potential consequences, is “very bright” and able to and eager to learn and understand “more conceptual things” such as plea bargains.

LeBlanc told Marden that during an interview with Smith earlier in June, “It was especially interesting to Dr. Donnelly and myself that [Smith’s] ability to spontaneously identify delusional matter that didn’t apply to his case [had developed] and he was able to narrow his focus to specifics of the situation at the time of the allegations.”

“Recently he said, ‘Yes, if I listen to the story it sounds irrational, even though this is what happened,’” Donnelly said.

But Donnelly said Smith continues to deny he has a mental illness and is determined to “have his day in court.”

Donnelly said he remains concerned about Smith’s ability to assist in his own defense because of the persistence of his primary delusion that he was destined to be educated by well-known guitar players and to become a rock star, that he was “the god of the kingdom of heaven, Icarus.”

Donnelly also testified that Smith told him that several years ago a gun was put to his head while he was at a concert by the band Phish and he was told that his father would try to poison him.

LeBlanc said Smith has repeatedly requested new attorneys because Ames and co-counsel Scott Hess won’t call a heavy-metal guitarist “to testify about what happened at the Phish concert.”

While Smith has been advised and recognizes that a plea of not criminally responsible could be appropriate, Donnelly said, he continues to claim self-defense.

Miriam Davidson, a psychiatric practitioner who treats Smith at Riverview, said that after the court order, Smith took the atypical antipsychotic Zyprexa for four months and made progress. But he also gained 38 pounds, so on May 13, she began weaning him off that drug and started him on Haldol, another antipsychotic medication.

Now at “a medium dose,” he has shown continued improvement, Davidson said, adding that should his response become “stagnant,” additional medications exist that could be added that might spur additional progress.

After Marden’s decision to enter the plea of not criminally responsible, Smith asked if he could ask one question: “At any point am I allowed different lawyers?”

Marden said he would take no action on the request but would accept a written motion for a change of counsel from his attorneys.

“Based on all reports and evidence we’ve reviewed, we would not be opposed to a finding of not criminally responsible,” Macomber said. “If he persists in a not guilty plea and we got to trial and he’s ultimately convicted, the state will certainly not be recommending a sentence as short as 30 years — which I’ve read is what he thinks he may get.”