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July 23, 2013

Danvers Marine gets probation in assault, gun case

DANVERS — A Marine sergeant arrested after a violent rampage inside his Danvers apartment in January will spend the next two years on supervised probation, a Salem District Court judge ordered yesterday.

Marine Sgt. Matthew Fairbanks, who is facing a military separation hearing later this month, admitted that had the case gone to trial, prosecutors would have been able to prove charges of assault and battery and improper storage of a firearm.

Fairbanks, 24, was arrested following an incident in his apartment in the Endicott Green apartments on Route 1, where police were called by a neighbor whose own apartment was being flooded.

The officers discovered that Fairbanks had been involved in a confrontation with his long-estranged father in the bathroom, during which he ripped the toilet from the floor, threw his father into the bathtub, and then struck his father’s head against the broken toilet.

They later found a .45 caliber Colt handgun, one of several Fairbanks was licensed at the time to own, that had been taken out and left unsecured during the evening. A waitress Fairbanks had invited back to the apartment after several drinks at Applebee’s told officers that she hid the gun and other potentially dangerous items during the altercation.

And while Fairbanks’ father has, in papers filed by his son’s attorneys, recanted his statement to police, prosecutors expected to be able to prove that the lump on his father’s head was the result of an assault.

Judge Robert Brennan continued the case without a finding for two years, and imposed conditions that include a mental health evaluation and counseling for a man described by a family friend as possibly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the result of several tours of duty in Iraq.

But during his hearing yesterday, Fairbanks said he has not been given any formal diagnosis, only counseling that has been provided by the Marine Corps.

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