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House has history of drug crimes

ORANGE — Drugs and guns have figured in the history of 18 Mechanic St. for years before the fatal shooting Wednesday.

The building’s second floor has seen drug raids in 2007 and in May of this year, and an accidental shooting in 2011, all three involving illegal firearms possession.

On May 3, members of the Northwestern District Anti-Crime Task Force executed a warrant at 18 Mechanic St., arresting Kenneth W. Dennis, then 46, in connection with about 2 grams of heroin and five shotguns allegedly found in the apartment.

Dennis pleaded innocent at his May arraignment in Orange District Court to heroin possession with intent to distribute, heroin possession, five charges of violation of firearms law with three prior violent or drug crimes, and six charges of possession of a firearm without firearms identification card.

According to Orange assessors’ records, the 21∕2-story wood-frame building has 10 rooms, four bedrooms, three bathrooms and two kitchens and is 173 years old.

The property is owned by Elaine B. Thoren and Gary A. Campbell. According to Registry of Deeds records, Campbell’s name was added to the deed in 2004. In 2007, Campbell was one of four men arrested in a raid of the second-floor apartment.

In 2007, state and local police raided the second floor apartment, arresting four men and seizing 14 to 18 grams of cocaine, several bags of marijuana and a loaded .38-caliber revolver.

Arrested were Gary Campbell, then 60, James K. Lewis, then 37, Timothy Joshua Harrison, then 19, and Therman Joel Perry, then 26, all of 18 Mechanic St. All but Perry paid miscellaneous court fees and served pretrial probation in cases that did not go to trial.

Police charged Campbell with possession of cocaine, possession of a firearm without a permit, illegal possession of firearm ammunition and improper storage of a firearm. Campbell admitted to sufficient facts for possession of cocaine and two counts of possession of a firearm without a license in Orange District Court. The improper storage charge was dismissed at the request of the commonwealth. Campbell apaid a $50 fine and served a one-year probation.

Lewis was charged with possession of cocaine, Harrison with possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana. Lewis was placed on pretrial probation until August 2007, Harrison until August 2008.

Police charged Perry with trafficking in cocaine 14 to 28 grams, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, as a second or subsequent offense, and possession of marijuana. Perry was indicted on a single charge of cocaine trafficking and pleaded guilty in Franklin Superior Court, and received a 3-year state prison sentence in 2007.

Between these incidents, the address featured in an apparently accidental and non-fatal 2011 shooting, again featuring an unregistered firearm.

Robert Donovan, then 25, of 18 Mechanic St. allegedly shot a man in the stomach while showing him a .22-caliber revolver in the upstairs apartment, leading to charges of aggravated assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, unlawful possession of a firearm without an FID card, misleading police during a criminal investigation and perjury.

Donovan pleaded guilty in Superior Court in June 2012 and received two three- to five-year state prison sentences.

— RECORDER STAFF

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Friday, January 17, 2014

ORANGE — At about 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Jennifer Welvert heard loud footsteps crashing above in the upstairs apartment. The early morning noise was unusual for the normally quiet 18 Mechanic St. two-story home. Welvert, who has lived on the first floor since October, heard no gun shots. But soon the street was cordoned off with yellow crime tape, and … 2

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