Cases Against Three Lowell Teens Charged with Stealing Ex-cop’s Gun Dismissed
LOWELL -- The criminal cases against three Lowell juveniles charged last June with stealing a handgun belonging to a retired Lowell police officer were dismissed last month because the former officer refused to testify.
The retired officer, Michael Miles, did not appear in court, but his lawyer, Scott Bratton, said in a text message that Miles planned to exercise his 5th Amendment rights had he been summonsed, and that the district attorney was aware of that.
The 5th Amendment to the Constitution states that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”
The court disposition was confirmed by Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.
The cases were moved to the Juvenile Court session in Lawrence, in Essex County, due to a “conflict” that precluded the cases from being heard in the Lowell juvenile session.
According to sources, one of the juveniles is related to Lowell Juvenile Court clerk-magistrate Elizabeth Sheehy, prompting the change of venue to Lawrence.
Kimball-Monahan declined to discuss the, case except to say, “We have no comment on an alleged victim’s decision” to invoke the 5th Amendment.
The judge on the case was Mark Newman.
The theft occurred June 5 and was reported to police the next day. According to police, the .38-caliber gun was in a locked motor vehicle belonging to Miles that was parked outside the home of a Belvidere resident he was visiting.
The suspects had been charged with possession of a large-capacity firearm. One of the three suspects faced two additional charges: larceny of a firearm and possession of ammunition without an FID card. At the time of the alleged offense, two of the suspects were 15 and the other 16.
All three suspects were initially arraigned in the Lowell juvenile session on June 14 and pleaded not guilty. A judge ordered that all three remain in Massachusetts, have no contact with each other or the alleged victim, and submit to wearing GPS monitoring devices.
Lowell Police Superintendent Kelly Richardson said Tuesday the handgun has never been found.
Miles did not return a telephone message left on his cellphone.
Before Richardson was named superintendent last August, Acting Superintendent Jonathan Webb said in internal-affairs probe cleared Miles of any mishandling of his firearm.
Webb told The Sun at the time that the firearm was in a knapsack-like carrying bag. It was properly secured with a locking mechanism. State law requires guns to be stored in a specific manner. All guns, when not in use, with the exception of primitive firearms, must be stored or kept “secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device,” to prevent unauthorized use. Because the motor vehicle was locked and the firearm’s locking mechanism was engaged, Webb said police detectives did not find Miles in violation of state law.
Bratton was asked why Miles wouldn’t testify if he was cleared by LPD internal affairs.
“Personal and professional reasons,” Bratton said. He declined to elaborate.
When Miles retired from the Lowell Police Department in April 2015, after a 25-year career, he received accolades from colleagues and community leaders for his work in helping others with substance-abuse issues. Miles used his own personal experience as a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser to revive his police career and later become a mental-health and abuse counselor. At a retirement party in Dracut, Miles recounted how he has been sober since 1985.
Miles also served on the Dracut School Committee for six years.