PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A Massachusetts man who disappeared while awaiting sentencing for three rapes 35 years ago and was arrested last week in Maine agreed Monday to be returned to Massachusetts without a fight.
Gary Allen Irving, 52, signed a waiver of extradition on a fugitive from justice charge during a brief appearance in the Cumberland County Courthouse. He was expected to be transported to Massachusetts later in the day.
Irving faced a possible life sentence after being convicted in 1978 on three counts of rape and kidnapping, according to a Massachusetts State Police "Most Wanted" poster. He went on the lam after a judge allowed him to return home to make final arrangements before sentencing.
He was arrested last week after Massachusetts State Police learned he was living under the assumed name of Gregg Irving in Gorham, a town of about 16,000 people west of Portland.
His arrest came as a jolt to his wife and their grown son and daughter, who had no idea of Irving's true identity, said attorney Chris Leddy, who represented Irving at his hearing.
"That's a surreal event, I think that's the only word that applies to the family," Leddy said. "They're still in a state of shock."
His wife, two children and two family friends were in court Monday when Irving appeared in shackles and a yellow jail uniform. The family left without speaking to reporters.
While living in Maine, Irving went to work every day, paid taxes, went to high school football games and otherwise led a normal life with his wife and two children, Leddy said. He once received a speeding ticket and sat on jury duty for a month. He was baking a cake when he was arrested.
That's a stark contrast to the portrait of Irving as a teenager, when he was convicted in 1978. In one incident, Irving knocked a woman off her bike and brought her to a secluded area, where he repeatedly raped her, according to Massachusetts State Police. In another incident, he forced the victim into his car as she walking and threatened to use a knife if she didn't comply with his demands.
His profile over the years was featured on "America's Most Wanted," "Unsolved Mysteries" and "Real Stories of the Highway Patrol."
"With all due respect to what happened in Massachusetts, you have to understand the story that is Maine's has to do with a gentleman named Gregg Irving," Leddy said. "And Gregg Irving's life in Maine has been relatively normal."
When Irving was arrested last Wednesday night, he was calm and at first maintained he wasn't the man police were seeking, Maine State Police Trooper Jeremy Forbes said outside the courthouse. But he eventually admitted his true identity and asked police how they found him, Forbes said.
It's highly unusual for a fugitive in a high-profile case to fly under the radar for decades and elude capture, he said.
"It's a very rare case," he said.
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