Authorities find defendant who fled court days ago

GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) — A days-long manhunt for a defendant who fled from court during jury deliberations has ended with an arrest.

The Gaston Gazette reports ( ) that Gary Franklin Simmons was found in his girlfriend’s attic in Belmont on Saturday.

The 43-year-old had fled from court six days earlier as a jury began deliberating in his trial on first-degree statutory rape charges. He was convicted after the judge instructed jurors to continue deliberating in Simmons’ absence.

A probation officer found Simmons when he conducted a search on the girlfriend’s house.

Both were booked into jail without bond.

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