Ayer man’s rape conviction overturned

WOBURN, Mass. (AP) — The same judge who sentenced an Ayer man to up to 40 years in prison for what she described as a "brutal" rape has overturned the conviction because the suspect's relatives were not allowed to attend jury selection.

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Jane Haggerty this month overturned David Coutu's 2007 conviction for charges including aggravated rape and home invasion.

Haggerty ordered a new trial after finding Coutu's rights to a public trial were violated when his mother and a sister were prohibited from entering the courtroom during jury selection.

Prosecutors say Coutu used a crowbar to beat and rape the victim.

Coutu's lawyer tells The Sun it's a chance to retry the case using more advanced DNA technology.

Prosecutors are reviewing the decision before deciding whether to appeal.