, Salem, MA

January 29, 2013

Brawl with police lands man in custody


---- — BEVERLY — Three years ago, he had two women brawling over him in front of a judge.

But on Saturday night, Gary Lee Farnham was allegedly brawling with police, who had come to remove him from the apartment of the woman who ostensibly won that 2009 fight for Farnham’s affections.

Farnham, 31, is now facing a string of charges, including two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, malicious destruction, and domestic assault.

Around 10 p.m. Saturday, Beverly police went to the Front Street apartment of Farnham’s girlfriend, Rachel Lord, who was standing outside in the single-digit temperature wearing pajamas. She told police that Farnham, who lives with his mother in Lynn, showed up at her apartment and woke her up, yelling threats and accusations at her. She said she was terrified and fled the apartment.

Police said they found a drunken Farnham in the kitchen, leaning over a counter.

As they approached, Farnham began pounding the counter and grew “enraged,” prosecutor Lars Trautman told a Salem District Court judge yesterday.

As Patrolman Dana Nicholson and Eric Lynch tried to put him in handcuffs, Farnham tried to “head-butt” both of them, the prosecutor said.

As the officers tried to lead Farnham down a narrow flight of stairs, the struggle escalated, with Farnham alternately trying to kick the stair railing and the officers, and again trying to head-butt them, Trautman said. Eventually, Nicholson fell, with Farnham landing on top of him, according to the police report.

Meanwhile, a third officer, Patrolman Eric Abrahamson, was trying to get inside the hallway to assist the other two officers but found the door locked. During his attempts to break down the door, Abrahamson suffered a shoulder injury and heard a “pop” coming from his ribs. He was later evaluated at Beverly Hospital for the injuries.

Trautman urged Judge Robert Brennan to set bail at $2,500, noting Farnham’s record.

Defense lawyer Chris Beares urged a much-lower bail, no more than $500, arguing that Farnham has stayed out of legal trouble since 2009.

That’s when he was charged with assault and battery on his now-former girlfriend, Katy Kartalias, after she confronted him about Lord. During Farnham’s arraignment in that case in May 2009, the two women exchanged words and then went to the floor, brawling. Kartalias later received a suspended sentence; Lord was not charged and continued her relationship with Farnham.

But on Saturday, she told police that she was fed up with Farnham’s behavior, according to a police report.

Farnham later received a jail term in the 2009 case.

The judge set bail for Farnham at $1,500, an amount that he’s not expected to post immediately, and warned him that if he’s released, he is barred from any form of abuse of Lord.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for March 5.

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