SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 7, 2013

Judge: Marine violated terms of release

DANVERS — A Salem District Court judge has found “clear and convincing” evidence that Marine recruiter Matthew Fairbanks repeatedly violated the terms of his release in a pending assault and battery and weapons case, including failing to surrender an AK-47 to police.

Because of that, Judge Robert Brennan concluded that Fairbanks “poses a substantial risk of danger to the community” and ordered that he now be held without bail until trial.

Fairbanks, 23, an Iraq War veteran whose family has said may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, was living in the Endicott Greens apartment complex on Route 1 in January when police were called because of a disturbance in his apartment.

Fairbanks allegedly ripped a toilet out of a wall during the altercation with his 52-year-old father, and then used it to assault the older man, according to police. Officers subsequently found guns and other weapons in the apartment and in Fairbanks’ car.

While Fairbanks was legally licensed to own the weapons at the time, Brennan had ordered him to surrender all of his weapons to police as a condition of his release in the pending case.

Then, last month, police and probation officers learned that Fairbanks had posted a photo of himself on Facebook laughing and holding an AK-47 with a caption that said, “So then the judge says to me, he says, you will surrender all your firearms.”

Fairbanks’ attorney had argued at an earlier hearing that his client thought that turning the gun over to friends was the equivalent of surrendering them to police.

The judge did not agree, finding that Fairbanks “failed to surrender all firearms to appropriate authorities.”

Brennan, in his order detaining Fairbanks, also concluded that Fairbanks had left the state without permission for “unauthorized purposes” and had failed to report to a probation officer for a mental health evaluation, as the judge had also ordered.

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