EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

August 20, 2013

New DNA report links suspect to rapes

SALEM, Mass. — A month before trial, a prosecutor yesterday said she’s obtained additional confirmation that DNA taken from a cigarette butt found at a Methuen rape scene is that of Kenneth Poirier.

Poirier, 41, of Pelham, stands accused of trapping two women in a car he was driving and raping them, one on May 23, 2010, and the other on Oct. 10 that year.

He has been held in jail on $50,000 bail since last November, when DNA taken from the cigarette butt linked him to five additional rape cases, including one when he was a teen. Poirier has not yet been charged with the additional rapes.

Police said Poirier raped the women in a red, two-door 1995 Pontiac Grand Am that belonged to his mother. They said he tampered with the passenger-side door handle to prevent the victims from fleeing the car.

He faces four counts of aggravated rape and single counts of kidnapping and indecent assault and battery.

His trial is scheduled for Sept. 18. During a court appearance yesterday, prosecutor Kate MacDougall said she had recently received an additional report confirming the DNA evidence. Both MacDougall and John Morris, Poirier’s defense attorney, will examine the report prior to a final scheduled conference before trial on Sept. 5.

Morris declined to comment on the new DNA report or Poirier’s defense strategy for the upcoming trial.

The reports on the DNA evidence testing have not been made public.

Poirier faces life in prison if convicted on the rape and kidnapping charges. Indecent assault and battery carries a sentence of 2 1/2 years in the county jail or up to five years in state prison.

Last August, Poirier, formerly of Methuen, was released from Middleton Jail after a Superior Court judge ruled Methuen police had no legal basis to stop his car and arrest him in October 2010.

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