"21 years after alleged attack, man extradited from Jamaica" by Astead W. Herndon Globe Staff September 03, 2015
WOBURN — Arnold Gabbidon escaped the grasp of state and federal law enforcement for decades. But just as in 1980, he could not outrun his own family.
On Jan. 14, 1994, police said Gabbidon broke into the Cambridge home of a former girlfriend and slashed her throat as she slept, leaving the woman to die. State prosecutors said Gabbidon fled Massachusetts and eventually retired to Jamaica, escaping police detection for 21 years — until a family member alerted the US Marshals.
In 1980, a family member’s testimony sent Gabbidon to prison for nine years, after he was convicted of shooting a Boston Globe photoengraver on the highway, reports said.
A stoic Gabbidon stood Thursday in Middlesex Superior Court and was arraigned on four charges, including assault with intent to murder, almost 8,000 days after the Cambridge incident.
He pleaded not guilty and was held without bail.
Gabbidon, 59, was arrested in Jamaica, his homeland, on Aug. 3. He was found to be living with a relative.
“US Marshals went to great efforts to find him over time,” said prosecutor Adrienne Lynch, who helped with Gabbidon’s criminal trial in 1994.
“There were efforts to engage Mr. Gabbidon from law enforcement, US Marshals, and Cambridge police. All tried to track him down,” Lynch said in court.
Lynch said it was unknown how long Gabbidon had been living in Jamaica or how he supported himself. She praised the work of state and federal law enforcement agencies and thanked his family for coming forward. Details of who in his family turned in Gabbidon and the exact circumstances of his apprehension were not revealed Thursday.
Gabbidon was added to the Massachusetts State Police Most Wanted List in 2006. He was also featured on the popular “America’s Most Wanted” television show in 2007 and 2010, Lynch said.
According to prosecutors, when Gabbidon attacked his former girlfriend, who was also his child’s mother, he said that “he wanted to kill her, but even if she did live, no one would want her.”
Gabbidon kicked through the woman’s door, choked her, stabbed her in the back of the head, and slashed her throat, according to a State Police document.
The woman survived.
Michael Kelly, Gabbidon’s defense attorney, did not protest the facts of the case in court.
After the arraignment, Kelly said he needed more information about the case, and could not comment.
Gabbidon faces four charges in connection with the 1994 incident: assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, stalking, and breaking and entering, prosecutors said.
Lynch, citing the “America’s Most Wanted” episodes, said there was a public outcry to bring Gabbidon to justice.
At the time of the 1994 incident, Gabbidon had just been released from prison for stalking the same woman, according to Globe articles from the time.
Before that stint in jail, Gabbidon was found guilty in the 1980 shooting of John Fitzgerald of Abington and spent nine years in prison. Reports said Gabbidon was convicted of the shooting after a relative testified that Gabbidon fired his sawed-off .45- caliber rifle toward the Southeast Expressway in Milton, merely to “try it out.”
Fitzgerald was struck in the chest and paralyzed for seven years before dying in 1987.
In April 1990, four years before the alleged attack in Cambridge, a federal immigration judge refused to deport Gabbidon, according to Globe reports. Fitzgerald’s son, Michael, told the Globe in 1990 that the judge ruled that way because of a technicality.
Michael Fitzgerald said the deportation of Gabbidon was their father’s final wish.
“And we did everything in our power to do that,” Fitzgerald said.
Thursday, Gabbidon was back on Massachusetts soil, in handcuffs. He swayed back and forth in a red polo shirt, nodding to the judge and whispering to his lawyer.
His hair was now gray.
Near the conclusion of the arraignment, Superior Court Judge Magistrate Matthew Day ordered Gabbidon not to have contact with his former girlfriend or their child.
The child, 2 years old at the time of his father’s alleged attack and disappearance, is now 23.