Former Marine recruiter held on technicality

A former Marine recruiter, who is a person of interest in the death of a Winthrop man, is about to go free on bail.

Frank Lipka was in court today and could be released by the end of the week. Despite being a central figure in a murder investigation, Lipka would have walked out of jail Tuesday morning, but he's still locked up on a technicality.

Lipka could not surrender his passport to probation officials because the Marine Corps has it.

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Lipka appeared in court Tuesday where he is accused of threatening a delivery driver with a gun late last year. His defense attorney says Lipka is ready to post $10,000 bail and remain under house arrest until his trial, but he couldn't surrender his passport because it is at a Marine base in New Hampshire, and the Marines won't release it.

They attorney claims that fact should be enough for Lipka to be released.

"I don't think it's fair to Mr. Lipka, when he's satisfied all other requirements of release thus far, he has no control over it, and we're talking about Marines here, we're not talking about Chipotle having his passport."

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The current charges against Lipka are not related to the disappearance and death of 21-year-old Joey Brancato of Winthrop. Brancato was last seen in November.

In late March, his body was found in a wooded area in Canton.

Relatives say Brancato wanted to join the Marines and against military policy. He moved in with Lipka at the recruiter's home in Roslindale.

So far, no one has been charged in Brancato's death, but police consider Lipka a person of interest.

For now, the Lipka will remain locked up until another court hearing on Thursday, but he could go free if his attorney is able to get the passport from Marines or provide written proof that the military won't release it.