Man facing guns, bomb charges released on $20K bail

The device seized during a search of Mr. Gamache's home was later identified by state police as a homemade explosive device. — Tisbury police report photo

Matthew Gamache, arrested March 5 on weapons, bomb, and assault charges, was released after posting $20,000 cash bail on Tuesday March 11, after a detention hearing in Edgartown District Court. The court originally set bail at $250,000.

The Cape and Island District Attorney’s office asked for the hearing, which allows a court to deny bail or set conditions before trial, based on dangerousness. To deny bail or set conditions, the court must consider any evidence of attempted use or threatened use of physical force during a felony, or that there is a a substantial risk of physical force against someone in the future.

Associate Justice Joseph I. Macy, ordered the bail reduced and set strict conditions for release.

Judge Macy ordered Mr. Gamache not to leave Martha’s Vineyard, and to check in with the probation department twice weekly. He must wear a GPS tracking device, and is restricted to his home during the hours of 7 pm to 6 am. He was ordered to remain at his new residence on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road in Edgartown, to stay away from the North Williams Street, Vineyard Haven home where he was living at the time of his arrest, and not to abuse drugs or alcohol.

On March 6, Mr. Gamache, 36, was arraigned on a charge of possessing a weapon of mass destruction, assault, attempted murder, and illegal possession of 24 firearms, after police responded to an early morning report of a domestic disturbance at the Vineyard Haven home. At a previous bail hearing, his attorney said Mr. Gamache has lived on the Island and operated a construction business for four years, but he listed his official residence on court documents as York, Maine.

When police confiscated the weapons from the North Williams Street home, as directed by a judge who issued an emergency restraining order to Mr. Gamache’s girlfriend, they discovered what they suspected was a homemade bomb. They also seized 42 pounds of gunpowder from a secured room, according to court records. Mr. Gamache is a well known competitive shooter who manufactures his own ammunition.

On March 6, the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad traveled to the Island to examine and dispose of the device.

“It is my opinion that the device recovered is a homemade explosive device filled with explosive smokeless gunpowder (very likely from the containers found in the residence) and would cause a very extreme explosion when ignited by lighting the hobby fuse wick,” according to the state police bomb expert who examined the device.

It is illegal under Massachusetts state law to possess such an explosive device. If the case remains in district court, Mr. Gamache could be sentenced to up to 2.5 years in a house of correction. If he is indicted, and the case moves to Superior Court, he faces a minimum sentence of 10 years, and up to 20 years in prison.