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Judge: Peter J. Kilmartin, prosecutor: Martha Holt, defense attorney: Iris Grabarek, witnesses: Ayer Police Officer Kristin Harrison, defendant’s sister in law Susan Chapman

During a detention hearing on Jan. 31 at Ayer District Court, presiding Judge Peter J. Kilmartin heard from witnesses regarding whether or not defendant Oscar Chapman of Ayer should be held pending trial for his eighth operating under the influence offense.

Officer Kristin Harrison of the Ayer Police department testified to the details of pulling over Chapman around 10:30 pm on Jan. 28. Harrison informed the court that she witnessed Chapman run a stop sign without slowing, and after pulling Chapman over noted the strong smell of alcohol and urine emanating from his person. Chapman declined to take a field sobriety test, after which time he surrendered himself and was arrested.

Harrison also testified that after being booked, Chapman was taken to the hospital after complaining of chest pains, where his blood alcohol content was found to be 200 milligrams per deciliter, averaging out to be a BAC between 0.169 to 0.178. This was over the legal limit of 0.08, and after Chapman had had nearly an hour to metabolize the alcohol in his blood after having last been seen driving.

Chapman’s sister-in-law, Susan Chapman, testified on behalf of the defense indicating that the defendant had lived with her and her family for a period of one year with a suspended license, and had not witnessed him drive once in that time.

Prosecutor Martha Holt informed the court of Chapman’s history of OUI offenses dating back to ’79, with the most recent OUI conviction in ’94. Since then Chapman has been arrested twice for OUI, but was found not guilty both times.

Chapman’s defense attorney Iris Grabarek informed the court that Chapman has not had an OUI conviction in 13 years, and commented that it was inappropriate to try the defendant based on old cases where witnesses were unavailable for cross examination. Grabarek indicated that Chapman does not have a recent history of driving with a suspended license, and the commonwealth’s case to detain him was based entirely on his history.

Considering the history of the defendant, Judge Kilmartin found that the prosecution met the requirements to hold Chapman pending trial without bail due to the threat posed to the community. A pretrial hearing date has been set for the case on Feb. 28.

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