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Animal Cruelty Case Continued Without Finding

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A local man was given a continuance without a finding after killing a 10-month-old puppy.
 
Coty Dakin, 29, had entered to an admission to sufficient facts plea to a single county of animal cruelty on March 12. The case was continued without a finding for one year. Police had accused Dakin of crushing the skull of his girlfriend's 10-month old Chihuahua, Chichi, in Lanesborough in 2017.
 
Police said on Nov. 20, 2017 officers were dispatched to the girlfriend's home for a disturbance during which it was reported that Dakin had killed his girlfriend's dog. Police said Dakin was asked about the incident and he claimed he kicked a chair into the wall and accidentally killed the dog. 
 
"He explained that he had found that the dogs made a mess in the living room and he was cleaning it up when he became angry. The dogs ran and hid behind a reclining chair at which time he kicked the chair into the wall. He stated he heard one of the dogs yelp so he moved the chair away from the wall to find the dog bloody and not breathing," reads the police report.
 
However, officers sent the puppy's body to Forensic Veterinary Investigations in Boston for necrology and Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore said the injuries did not align with that story.
 
"The constellation of injuries in this 10-month-old Chihuahua puppy are consistent with manual crushing of the skull during ineffective 'wringing' of her neck (manual dislocation of the head from the neck by applying torsional forces). In my opinion, rather than dislocating the head from the first cervical vertebra, the skull crushed and shattered under considerable manual force," the report reads.
 
"The shattering of the bone at the base of the skull pierced into the oropharynx causing the bleeding from the nose and mouth. The shattering bone at the skull compromising the inner/middle left ear cause the bleeding out of the left ear ...
 
"In my opinion, Chichi's death was accompanied by intense pain and suffering."
 
The multi-page report debunked Dakin's story and Smith-Blackmore determined that the injuries "are inconsistent with an accident crushing injury between a piece of furniture and the wall."
 
Friends reported trying to get Dakin to seek psychiatric help and witnesses who were there that day cited a few things that did not quite seem to back Dakin's story, such as a lack of blood in the supposed chair area and the number and severity of the injuries to the dog.
 
Police returned to question Dakin further about the incident and the findings but Dakin maintained his story. However, police said that between Dakin's admission of kicking the chair into the wall, admitting to having anger problems and "coming to a boiling point that day," admitting he did not want the dog in the first place, and the necropsy report,  warranted the charge.
 
The case has been going through the district court process for about a year and ultimately Judge Jennifer Tyne agreed to the continuance without a finding.
 
In a follow-up letter, the owner of the dog wrote about the pain of losing Chichi and the impact it had on her children.
 
"There's not much I could say that could describe the hurt I felt then and still do, it isn't something that can just be erased and whereas I've felt so many emotions in this matter from anger to loss, sadness, and even guilt. Still, I feel that no judgment is going to bring back what we lost, it isn't going to fix what's already been broken," she wrote.
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Connecticut Woman Injured in Readsboro Snowmobile Accident

Staff Reports
A woman injured in snowmobile accident in Readsboro is taken to Albany Medical Center on Saturday.
READSBORO, Vt. — A 34-year-old Connecticut woman was seriously injured Saturday afternoon after losing control of her snowmobile. 
 
Nicole Daulizio of Beacon Falls was taken by a LifeNet helicopter to Albany, N.Y., Medical Center after reportedly suffering from contusions, including head injuries, and possible internal bleeding.
 
State police were called to a private property on Oberdorf Road just before 4 p.m. for a report of a snowmobile crash. Acccording to a report by Trooper Benjamin Irwin of the Shaftsbury barracks, Daulizio was riding the machine when she lost control and struck a tree nose-end first. She was initially unresponsive but regained consciousness a short time later. Scanner reports indicated that she may have received CPR.
 
Northern Berkshire EMS of North Adams, Mass., responded to the accident along with Vermont first-responders. Daulizio was taken by ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center's emergency satellite facility in North Adams to be stabilized and then flown to Albany Medical. 
 
 
The state police report does not indicate anyone else was injured in the incident but states the snowmobile appears to have been totaled.
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Reilly Pleads Guilty to Misleading Detectives In Ringer Murder Case

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An Easthampton woman pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to state police detectives in a murder investigation.
 
Laura Reilly, 44, pleaded guilty to two counts of misleading police and was sentenced by Judge John A. Agostini in Berkshire Superior Court to two to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Cedar Junction. The charges relate to the investigation into the alleged homicide of Joanne Ringer of Clarksburg in 2017.
 
"The judge agreed this was an egregious example of misleading police," District Attorney Andrea Harrington said in a statement on Friday. "We sought incarceration because Laura Reilly's lies not only stymied police in apprehending a murder suspect, they also had a devastating and lasting effect on Joanne Ringer's family and friends."
 
Ringer was reported missing in March 2017. Police identified Ringer's husband, Charles Reidy as a suspect, believing he had killed her. Police found Ringer's car abandoned in Easthampton a few days after she had been reported missing.
 
Reilly, an ex-girlfriend of Reidy, lied to police about being in contact with Reidy in the days surrounding Ringer's disappearance. Police later determined those statements were misleading and "wasted important time in the state police investigation," according to the district attorney's office.
 
In April, Reidy committed suicide. Ringer's body was not found until February 2018 in Hatfield. An autopsy could not confirm the cause of death because more than a year had passed since she went missing.
 
"If Laura Reilly told the truth about driving Reidy home on the day he reported Ringer missing and spending time with him the day after, police could have questioned Reidy about the killing prior to him committing suicide," Harrington said. "I offer my condolences to Ms. Ringer's loved ones, and we hope that this plea and sentence gives them some measure of comfort."
 
The district attorney's office recommended three to four years in prison. First Assistant District Attorney Karen Bell argued the case, calling Reidy's misleading statements "specific, intentional, purposeful, and calculated."
 
"The defendant's conduct and lies were specific, intentional, purposeful and calculated," Bell said in a statement. "At the time that the defendant spoke to the police, she was fully aware of the nature of the investigation. Intentionally misleading the police cuts at the core of our criminal justice system and threatens public safety."
 
Agostini concurred with the district attorney's office. 
 
"The public was really the victim in this case," Agostini said, referencing the long search for Ringer and the extensive news coverage it produced. "It was not just police that were misled. It was all of us."
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Two Arrested After Manhunt

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The two men who led authorities on a manhunt on Tuesday are facing a number of charges.
 
Police say Arnold Chapman and Shannon Brown were arrested after leading police on a lengthy chase spanning from North Adams to Pittsfield. The incident started when the two allegedly attempted to return some $2,000 worth of stolen merchandise to the North Adams Walmart. They fled in a black pickup truck with Florida plates as North Adams Police were responding to the store.
 
The suspects fled shortly after 2:15 p.m. as police from North Adams, Adams, and Cheshire chased the vehicle. The drivers then cut over the Connector Road in Lanesborough to Route 7, where the Massachusetts State Police and Pittsfield Police joined the search to find the suspects. 
 
The vehicle was abandoned on West Housatonic Street, in a parking lot across from the Lebanon Avenue intersection. The two men then got a taxi from there to the Enterprise car-rental service on East Street. A trooper responded there and Brown allegedly assaulted her, broke free, and ran toward Cove street, and then onto Root Place. 
 
State and Pittsfield Police and deputies from the sheriff's department launched a wide-spanning manhunt for the suspects around the Elm Street and East Street areas. The search included K9 units and a police helicopter. 
 
At about 4:30 p.m., officers found and arrested Brown on Root Place. Brown allegedly gave the name of "Alstin Guice" and had a Florida driver's license in that name but troopers were later able to identify him as Brown through fingerprinting.
 
The 33-year-old Brown, from Tampa, Fla., had $4,210 in cash on hand. He was charged with assault and battery on a police officer, providing a false name to police, and as a fugitive from justice. 
 
Police also say Brown was the subject of a warrant in Phoenix, Ariz., for charges of fraudulent schemes, artifices, and theft. Authorities in Arizona intend to ask for his rendition to face those charges.
 
Chapman was later found in the same area suffering from hypothermia and shock after allegedly going into the Housatonic River while running from police. He was transported to Berkshire Medical Center and is still being treated as of Wednesday afternoon.
 
Pittsfield Police say the two suspects were involved in similar scams at the Walmart in Pittsfield, for $3,700, and in Hadley, for $2,600. 
 
Chapman also had a warrant in the state of Florida on charges of fleeing law enforcement at a high rate of speed, habitual traffic offender, and leaving the scene of property damage. Locally he will be facing a single count of larceny by false pretense, over $1,200, and additional charges may be forthcoming.
 


The State Police brought in a helicopter to help search for the men.

Original Post: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 5:46 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A high-speed chase and manhunt throughout the county tied up local law enforcement for hours on Tuesday.

 
Pittsfield Police and State Police confirmed they were helping search for two men wanted by North Adams Police but opted to withhold comment until they had more information.
 
North Adams Police were still investigating the situation when asked for comment and said information may not be available for hours.
 
According to the scanner reports, however, state and local police were chasing two men in a black pickup truck with Florida plates southbound on Route 8 from North Adams shortly after 1 in the afternoon. The men reportedly fled after an incident from the Super Walmart in North Adams, although that could not be confirmed.
 
The men evaded authorities all the way to West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield, where they then ditched the truck.
 
The pair then allegedly caught a cab and went back to the center of Pittsfield. Officers tracked the suspects onto Root Place and a manhunt ensued throughout a large portion of the Elm Street area. The State Police brought in the airwing to search for the men and Pittsfield Police had a K9 unit.
 
The search continued throughout the day. Both men appear to have apprehended but authorities have not yet confirmed that fact. 
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Berkshire DA: Propane Tanks Used to Set Fire in Sheffield Murder-Suicide

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
SHEFFIELD, Mass. — The district attorney's office says there is "overwhelming evidence" suggesting that Luke Karpinski killed his wife and children before setting their Home Road residence on fire.
 
District Attorney Andrea Harrington said on Monday that Justine Wilbur, 41, was found dead on the first floor with signs of "a traumatic injury" that appears to have occurred prior to the start of the fire. Authorities also say they found an accelerant throughout the home, including two 20-pound propane tanks on the upper floors, used to start the blaze.
 
"This investigation is complex and ongoing, but we have uncovered overwhelming evidence suggesting that Luke Karpinski killed his wife and children prior to committing suicide," Harrington said.
 
The family of five were all found dead Wednesday morning after first-responders extinguished a fire at the home. Authorities found Wilbur on the first floor of the home and the other four upstairs. 
 
Investigators say they did not find any firearms in the home but the autopsy results with the cause of deaths were not available Monday from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
 
The fire was reported at about 7:50 Wednesday morning.
 

Original Post: Berkshire DA: Sheffield Fire Being Investigated as Murder-Suicide

March 14, 2019, at 6:46 p.m


Numerous volunteer fire departments responded to the scene Wednesday morning.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The District Attorney's office is investigating the fire that left a family of five dead as a murder-suicide.

 

First responders were called to 1343 Home Road shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday morning to a structure fire.
 
After it was extinguished, investigators found Justine Wilbur dead and later found the bodies of her husband, Luke Karpinski, and the family's three children, 7-year-old twins Alex and Zoe and Marek, age 3. 
 
On Thursday, District Attorney Andrea Harrington said it appears as though Karpinski had killed his family.
 
"Five individuals including three young children died Wednesday morning that burned at 1343 Home Road in Sheffield. Among the deceased were Luke Karpinski, his wife Justine Wilbur, both 41, who lived in the home with their 3-year-old and 7-year-old twins," Harrington said.
 
"We are investigating this matter as a murder-suicide. At this time, the evidence indicates that Luke Karpinski was the assailant."
 
Harrington said little more but assured the public that "there is no reason to believe the public is in danger at this time." She would not reveal the cause of the deaths but said the bodies have been transferred to the chief medical examiner's office in Boston.
 
Harrington also would not reveal anything regarding weapons or whether the individuals had died before or during the fire.
 
The investigation into the circumstances around the incident are being investigated by the Massachusetts State Police and the Office of the State Fire Marshal. Volunteer fire companies from around the region responded to aid the Sheffield Fire Department: Great Barrington, New Marlborough, Richmond, Egremont and Monterey, and Connecticut companies of North Fork and Canaan. 
 
The family had purchased the property in 2016 and had recently built the house on the thinly settled country road. Karpinski was a patent examiner for the federal government for more than a decade and Wilbur an attorney in patent law at Hoffman Warnick in Albany, N.Y., and held degrees in chemistry before earning her law degree. 
 
Hoffman Warnick described Wilbur in a statement as "a talented attorney" who "was smart, knowledgeable, dedicated and hardworking."
 
"It is with grief and immeasurable sorrow that we learned of the death of our friend and colleague Justine M. Wilbur, who died with her family yesterday in Sheffield, Massachusetts," the firm stated. 
 
Beth Regulbuto, superintendent of schools for the Southern Berkshire Regional School District, apprised the school community by email on Wednesday night that the crisis team would be meeting on Thursday morning "to discuss the best ways possible to provide support during school tomorrow." She said the district would have more counselors on hand and that faculty and staff would be providing "developmentally appropriate messages."


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