Tisbury man held on attempted murder, gun, bomb charges

Matthew Gamache in Edgartown District Court Wednesday. — Photo by Steve Myrick

A Maine man with a record of violent assaults was ordered held on $250,000 bail Wednesday, after his arrest on charges of attempted murder, assault, unlawful possession of weapons, and unlawful possession of an explosive device.

Police responded to a home on North William Street shortly after 4 am Wednesday. A woman who lives there said her boyfriend, Matthew Gamache, choked her and butted her, after they argued about turning off a television. Mr. Gamache fled the scene before police arrived. He was later arrested in Edgartown without incident.

Police seized 24 guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and several pounds of black powder, most of it stored behind a locked door fastened shut with wood screws.

Police also found a small cylinder wrapped in duct tape, with a green cord of fuse-like material sticking out from the top, according to the police report.

The Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad, after reviewing pictures of the device, said it resembled an explosive device. The bomb squad, unable to respond to the Island immediately, gave local police instructions to safely remove the device from the house and store it at the State Police barracks in Oak Bluffs, until squad members arrive on Martha’s Vineyard on March 7, to inspect and detonate it.

At a bail hearing in Edgartown District Court, Mr. Gamache’s attorney, Michele Casavant, asked that bail be set at $10,000, but Dukes County clerk-magistrate Liza Williamson rejected the defense request and instead set bail at $250,000.

“I’m concerned that this is an incident that stemmed from domestic abuse,” Ms. Williamson said in court before setting bail. “There’s a history of domestic abuse. The explosive device, the quantity of weapons, the black powder, is concerning.”

In court, Mr. Gamache tried to argue that the object police seized was not an explosive device, but he was quickly advised by his attorney not to speak.

In a 2000 case, Mr. Gamache was convicted in Roxbury District Court of assault and received a two-year suspended sentence, according to police. In 2008, he was charged in Edgartown District Court with resisting arrest.

In court there was some confusion about Mr. Gamache’s legal residency. In court papers, he listed his residency as York, Maine. His attorney at first argued that he lived here and had strong ties to the Island. She later offered clarification, explaining that Maine is his legal residence, but he has owned a construction business on Martha’s Vineyard for the past four years.

Mr. Gamache is to be arraigned Thursday morning in Edgartown District Court.