PORTLAND — Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey vowed Friday to seek a “substantial” sentence for the convicted Rockland rapist who fled Massachusetts in 1979 and was captured in a Maine suburb this week after a 34-year manhunt.
Prosecutors are allowed to seek up to a life sentence with parole for Gary Alan Irving, 52, who was convicted in 1979 of kidnapping and raping three young women in the summer of 1978, Morrissey said. He declined to say specifically what they would request, but said he would try to obtain “an appropriate sentence that would provide some modicum of finality and justice for the victims.”
Freed on bail by a judge after his 1979 trial, Irving fled the state before he could be sentenced. When police found him Wednesday he was living in Gorham, Maine, under a false name.
Irving appeared in Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland on Friday. His hands were cuffed in front of him, and he showed no emotion as he sat hunched on his bench. When the judge read out Irving’s crimes, the defendant lowered his head.
The hearing was continued until Monday after Irving’s lawyer, Christopher Leddy, requested time to look over paperwork.
Leddy declined to comment, and asked for compassion for Irving’s family. During the hearing, a small group of people sat with Leddy and conferred with him. They declined to comment.
“It’s been a tough time for them, that’s all I can say,” said Leddy.
When Massachusetts State Police tracked down Irving, they found four rifles, four shotguns, a six-shot revolver, a pellet gun, and nearly 300 rounds of ammunition in his suburban home on South Street, according to State Police spokesman David Procopio.
Irving will face federal charges for possessing guns, he said.
State Police have declined to release information about what led them to Irving after more than three decades, though at a press conference in Gorham on Thursday, Maine State Police Sergeant Robert Burke said detectives were in Florida before they headed to Maine.
According to court documents obtained Friday, when police arrived at Irving’s door on Wednesday night, they told Irving that they had received a hang-up 911 call from his home and asked him to step outside. They found a scar on Irving’s chest from a childhood surgery that identified him.
When police took him to the Gorham Police Department, he admitted his real name, according to the documents.
Police said Irving’s wife appeared to be in a “state of shock” when they showed up.
Gorham police said that Irving, who had changed his first name to Gregory, had never been in trouble in town, and that he may have been living in Gorham since the mid-1980s.
A Maine marriage license obtained Friday shows that Irving married in Portland in 1981. Gorham town clerk records show that he registered to vote in town in 1984 .
In both cases, he used his assumed name, Gregory A. Irving. He registered as unaffiliated, and did not indicate a previous registration address.
Court documents list his place of employment as National Telephone and Technology in Scarborough.
Calls to the business went unanswered.
Irving’s neighbors were shocked by the news that the man they described as quiet and helpful was one of Massachusetts’ top 10 most wanted criminals.
No one answered the door at the Irving home on Thursday; on Friday, two “No Trespassing” signs had been erected in the yard.
A man stood in the driveway smoking, but shook his head at a reporter who approached.
Maine State Police and Gorham police will go back through all open rape cases in the state and town to see if there are any that resemble Irving’s attacks.
Irving is due back in Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland at 8:30 a.m. Monday. He will be held without bail over the weekend.Evan Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.