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BOSTON, Mass. - A Peabody man was sentenced today to life imprisonment by the Honorable Patti B. Saris in federal court late this afternoon for his conviction for brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; being a felon in possession of a firearm; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone; and attempted possession with intent to distribute oxycodone.

EARL FRANCIS HART, 50, of Peabody, was found guilty of the above crimes by a federal jury in October 2010. The convictions stemmed from September 18 and 19, 2008, when Hart, who had previously been convicted of a felony, conspired to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone, and then used and brandished a firearm in connection with that offense. The evidence at trial showed that on September 19, 2008, at the Carriage House Motel on Route 1 North in Peabody, Hart racked a loaded Iver Johnson semiautomatic .380 caliber, held it to the head of an undercover Peabody Police Department sergeant, threatened to kill him and then robbed the Sergeant of what Hart thought was 125 oxycodone pills.

Hart is also charged with witness tampering and witness retaliation stemming from a November 24, 2009 incident, in which he allegedly violently assaulted one of his three co-defendants in the lockup inside the Moakley Federal Courthouse. All three of Hart’s co-defendants have pled guilty to the charges against them stemming from the September events in Peabody.

In sentencing Hart to life imprisonment today, Judge Saris discussed his lengthy and violent criminal history, which began in 1979 when Hart was sentenced to nine years in San Quentin Prison for violently assaulting and robbing an elderly couple. Judge Saris also stated that her sentence was based on Hart’s lack of remorse and total refusal to accept any responsibility for holding a loaded gun to the head of a police officer. Judge Saris also acknowledged the trauma that the Peabody Police Lieutenant experienced at the hands of Hart.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Guy Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Boston Field Division; Steven Derr,
Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Boston Field Division, Chief Robert L. Champagne of the Peabody Police Department; and Colonel Marian McGovern, Superintendent of the Massachusetts Police made the announcement today.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zachary R. Hafer and George W. Vien and of Ortiz’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.


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