EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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September 25, 2013

Jury finds 'red car rapist' guilty

METHUEN — Kenneth Poirier, dubbed the “red car rapist,” was convicted yesterday of the aggravated rape of a woman he picked up at gunpoint outside Lawrence boarding house, drove to woods in Methuen and sexually assaulted on May 23, 2010.

Poirier, 42, formerly of Methuen, who has also lived in Merrimac and Pelham, N.H., will be sentenced this morning by Judge Mary Ames in Lawrence Superior Court. He faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison.

Jurors yesterday afternoon convicted Poirier of one count of rape involving oral sex and acquitted him on a second rape charge.

He previously faced six rape-related charges involving two victims. Two counts of aggravated rape and single counts of kidnapping and indecent assault and battery were dropped before trial, however.

Poirier was accused of trapping women in the red Pontiac Grand Am he drove. The red Grand Am belonged to his mother.

DNA taken from a cigarette butt at the Methuen crime scene also linked Poirier to five additional rapes, including one when he was a teen. To date, he’s only faced trial for the May 23, 2010, Methuen rape and has not been charged in connection with the five additional DNA hits. He’s been held in jail on $50,000 bail since the DNA hits were discovered last November.

A heavyset man with a acne-marked complexion, Poirier briefly took the stand in his own defense yesterday morning. He said he thought the woman was a prostitute and the sex they engaged in was consensual. Poirier told jurors he picked her up on a Broadway (Route 28) street corner in Lawrence after just leaving a card game in Methuen.

“I was looking for a companion. Maybe a prostitute,” Poirier said.

After driving to Methuen, to the Old Ferry Road area, Poirier said the woman performed oral sex on him. He asked her to stop after she accidentally bit him slightly, he said. Then he refused to pay her and she became mad, he claimed.

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