Prosecutors are dropping charges against a Newton firefighter accused of repeatedly punching his ex-girlfriend, dragging her to his car, and holding her in their apartment against her will, authorities announced on Wednesday.
Lee Gilliam, 33, of Newton, was held without bail Friday after pleading not guilty in Newton District Court to charges of assault and battery on a family or household member, kidnapping, and threatening to commit a crime.
But on Wednesday, prosecutors entered a legal filing indicating the Commonwealth does not intend to pursue the charges. In a statement, the office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said prosecutors lacked evidence to continue the case.
“Based on an assessment of the present state of the evidence, the Commonwealth has now determined that it cannot sustain its burden of proof,” Ryan’s office said. “Should the state of the evidence change, the Commonwealth will refile charges.”
A spokeswoman for Ryan said she could not elaborate on the reason for the decision.
Assistant District Attorney Susan Harris said in court Friday that Gilliam allegedly told his 21-year-old girlfriend, who had moved out of the apartment they shared one day before the attack, “I will kill you, and no one will find you. I will throw you in the woods.”
Gilliam allegedly knocked the woman unconscious outside Children’s Hospital in Waltham, where she worked, and then drove her back to their Wyman Street apartment in Newton, forcing her to remain there until he fell asleep, when she made her escape, according to a police report.
“You are not leaving this house tonight, I’ll make sure you never leave this house again,” she said he told her, according to the police report, adding that because he was a firefighter, “nothing will ever happen to him.”
Gilliam could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
Isa Woldeguiorguis, who has worked for two decades in the effort to end sexual violence and partner abuse, said domestic violence cases can be complex to prosecute.
“The most important thing . . . is that there is advocacy and safety planning, especially in a case that does not go forward to prosecution,” she said.
Woldeguiorguis, executive director of The Center for Hope and Healing, a rape crisis center in Lowell, said she has confidence in the district attorney’s office.
“I work in Middlesex County, and I know that the district attorney’s office is really competent,” she said.