Oct 25 2011

Veteran Braintree police officer charged with possession of assault weapon

Dr. Q

This article was originally published in The Patriot Ledger. It has been reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license.

Donal J. Curtin Jr.

BRAINTREE — A lawyer representing a Braintree police officer charged with illegal possession of an AK-47 assault rifle and other firearm offenses says he is confident his client will be cleared.

Donal J. Curtin Jr., 48, of Abington pleaded not guilty in Quincy District Court on Friday to two counts of illegal transfer or possession of an assault weapon, one count of a subsequent charge of illegal transfer or possession of an assault weapon, and two counts of improper storage of a large-capacity firearm.

He was released on his promise to return to court Dec. 28 on the charges.

A Braintree police officer for nearly 25 years, Curtin has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the case.

Thomas Drechsler, Curtin’s attorney, said the charges are “mere accusations that my client has denied and will continue to deny.”

“The charges are not supported by the evidence, and I feel we will prevail at a future hearing when we can present all the evidence,” Drechsler said.

Curtin’s son Donal J. Curtin III, 21, of 159 River St. Braintree, faces a single count of illegal transfer of an assault weapon.

He also pleaded innocent, and was released on his promise to return to court Dec. 28.

According to court documents, the younger Curtin purchased an AK-47 rifle in Kentucky in 2010 and later gave it to his father.

The gun was found, wrapped in a navy blue blanket, in the master bedroom of the elder Curtin’s fiancée’s apartment during a domestic dispute July 7. The rifle was unloaded and did not have a trigger lock, according to court documents.

Police were called by Curtin’s fiancée at 6:41 a.m. that day. While officers were on the way to the apartment, Curtin called the station to report his department-issued, SIG Sauer P226 .40-caliber pistol was missing, and accused his fiancée of taking it, Braintree police Lt. Karen MacAleese wrote in her report on the incident.

Curtin told MacAleese that when he came home the previous evening, he had placed the pistol in a kitchen cabinet above the refrigerator, police said.

“He did not put a gun lock on it or place it in a gun locker because he was going to work a detail in the morning,” MacAleese wrote in her report.

A locked gun safe was found in the apartment, with three handguns and ammunition inside, police said.

Curtin and his fiancée had argued during the night, with the fiancée accusing him of being unfaithful, police reports stated.

The gun was later found inside a motorcycle boot in the corner of the master bedroom. The fiancée told police that she had hidden the gun, police officer Brian Adams wrote in his report.

There was no trigger lock on the gun, and there was a bullet in the chamber, Adams said.

The charges were issued following a clerk/magistrate’s hearing Oct. 7.

David Traub, a spokesman for Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey, would not comment on the case.

“Arrangements are being made for it to be done by a special prosecutor” because of a possible conflict of interest, Traub said.

Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan issued a brief statement on the matter.

“This is a serious matter being handled in a serious way,” Sullivan said in the statement. “I support Police Chief (Paul) Frazier’s and the district attorney’s office in their handling of the matter.”

Illegal possession or transfer of an assault weapon is a felony in Massachusetts punishable by up to 10 years in prison.