Person of Interest Linked to Deceased Recruit Arraigned in Unrelated Case

A Marine recruiter, who has been called a person of interest in the death of a Marine recruit, faced a judge Friday in an unrelated case.

Gunnery Sgt. Frank Lipka, 39, of Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of ammunition.

The charges stemmed from an encounter with a pizza delivery person in September 2017, according to the Suffolk district attorney's office.

"The defendant, at a moment when he was enraged by a late pizza delivery, threatened a pizza delivery driver by means of a gun," said the prosecutor.

Sitting quietly in the courtroom were family and friends Joseph Brancato. The body of the 21-year-old Marine recruit from Winthrop was found March 29 off Interstate 95 in Canton.

Lipka's court appearance on Friday was unrelated to the disappearance and death of Brancato, but authorities have named him as a person of interest in the ongoing case.

Brancato's family said he went missing last November after going to live with Lipka in hopes of getting ready for the armed services.

Andrea Brancato, Joey's aunt, said seeing Lipka before a judge keeps her family optimistic that they will soon have more answers.

"We are hopeful that now that we have Joey and we do have the information leading up to finding Joey that we will soon have a conviction of Frank Lipka for the death of my nephew," she said.

Lipka will remain out on bail following his arraignment. He has been ordered to surrender his passport and stay away from the victims in the case. Lipka must also wear a GPS tracking device. His next court date related to the delivery driver case is July 18, and the trial is set for Sept. 5.

Contact Us