, Salem, MA

November 26, 2013

Salem couple held in shotgun threat


---- — SALEM — A woman who was charged in June with concocting a kidnapping hoax after she was found in the trunk of her car alongside Route 128 is back in trouble after police say she pointed a shotgun at a friend after a night of drinking.

Maria Brayfield, 24, and her boyfriend, Kirk Hecksel, 29, both of 58 Ocean St., Salem, pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the incident during their arraignments yesterday in Salem District Court, where Brayfield was ordered held on $5,000 bail and Hecksel on $7,500.

Salem police Lt. Conrad Prosniewski said that the alleged victim, a friend of Brayfield, went to police shortly before 6 a.m. on Sunday and said that after a night out in Boston, she, Brayfield and several friends had returned to Brayfield’s room in the house on Ocean Street where she lives with Hecksel.

The woman told police that at some point in the discussion, she told Brayfield to “grow up.” Brayfield then pulled out a shotgun, pumped it and pointed it at her, threatening to kill her.

The woman said that she then struggled with Brayfield. At some point, the landlord intervened, took the gun and gave it to Hecksel.

Police later went to speak to the couple. They found a black Mossberg shotgun and a compound bow and arrow in the back of Brayfield’s hatchback.

That’s the same car Brayfield was found inside of in June, when she reported that she was kidnapped by two “Albanian” men, driven in her own vehicle to the side of Route 128 in Beverly and then forced to climb into the trunk, where she was found by two “Good Samaritans” who heard her calling from the car.

A massive search for the purported kidnappers turned up no evidence to back up Brayfield’s account, and police say she later conceded that the story was bogus. She was charged with filing a false police report.

But in August, after her attorney argued that Brayfield was never given the chance to argue against the charges being issued at a clerk’s show-cause hearing, the case was dismissed on procedural grounds.

A spokesman for District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in August that the charges would be re-filed against Brayfield. But according to the Salem District Court clerk’s office, that never happened. It was unclear why.

Prosniewski, however, referred to the case during his bail argument for Brayfield, who is facing two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and illegal possession of a firearm.

Hecksel is charged with improper storage of a firearm and illegal possession of a firearm.

Neither Brayfield nor Hecksel have a firearms identification card that would allow them to have the shotgun in Massachusetts.

Hecksel is licensed to have the gun in Michigan, his home state, said a lawyer appointed to represent him yesterday.

Lawyers for both Brayfield and Hecksel argued for the release of their clients, challenging the credibility of the friend. Judge Matthew Machera was not persuaded, however, and ordered the pair held.

A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Dec. 20.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.