Former Fugitive Found Guilty of Rape, Assault

A Billerica man was found guilty Thursday of several charges, including aggravated rape and assault and battery in four assaults that took place over four years.

Robert Gardner was found guilty of the charges in the assaults that happened in Lowell and Tewksbury from 2011 through 2015. Gardner was also convicted of witness intimidation after he called the victim in the assaults in 2017.

"The defendant in the case demonstrated the all too common pattern of subjecting the victim to escalating verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse over several years," said Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.

Police began their investigation into Gardner in June of 2015 after reports of a domestic assault at Bridge and Fourth streets in Lowell. The victim suffered a skull fracture and concussion and had to undergo surgery. An arrest warrant was issued for Gardner, who was known to the victim.

Later that year, Tewksbury Police responded to a domestic disturbance at a Motel 6 where they found the victim from the earlier assault. The victim said she was held against her will and assaulted by Gardner in the room. The defendant then fled the scene.

An investigation showed that Gardner had assaulted the victim in two separate incidents in 2011 and 2014.

Following a manhunt, Gardner was found in New Jersey in August of 2015. He was extradited to Massachusetts in September of that year.

After he was ordered held without bail following his arraignment, Gardner repeatedly tried to communicate with the victim, asking her not to testify.

Gardner is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 18.

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