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Criminal freed over Mass. lab scandal now fugitive

Associated Press Modified: October 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm •  Published: October 4, 2012

BOSTON (AP) — A career criminal and convicted rapist whose bail was reduced after a chemist was accused of mishandling drug samples at a state lab failed to show up for a court date and is now a fugitive, authorities said Thursday.

Marcus Pixley was awaiting trial in a 2011 arrest on charges of possession and distribution of crack cocaine and resisting arrest. His lawyer successfully argued this month that his bail should be lowered because the drugs in his case were tested by Annie Dookhan, a chemist charged with obstruction of justice and accused of faking test results, skipping protocols and mixing drug samples at a now-closed state lab.

The scandal has potentially put thousands of drug cases in jeopardy.

Pixley was released after posting the lower $1,000 bail, but he failed to show up for a scheduled court hearing Wednesday. A Suffolk Superior Court judge issued a warrant for his arrest Thursday.

Pixley, 52, has a criminal record dating to 1977, including rape, armed robbery, assault and battery and larceny. He also has eight prior drug convictions.

Prosecutors opposed Pixley's bail reduction, arguing that he was being prosecuted as a habitual offender.

Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley said prosecutors in his office have agreed to reduce bail and put sentences on hold for more than a dozen defendants since the lab was shut down a month ago. But he said they will continue to argue against bail reductions for career criminals or violent offenders, as they did in Pixley's case.

"One thing has become very clear: The defendants who stand to benefit most from the DPH lab disaster aren't low-level, non-violent drug users. They're moving large quantities of drugs, they've got long records or they're violent offenders," Conley said.

Pixley was arrested in February 2011 after police say he sold a plainclothes Boston officer two bags of crack cocaine.

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