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Superior Court Briefs: May 21 - May 23
Staff Reports On: 04:17PM / Friday May 25, 2012
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Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, May 21.

Trevor Pryce Jr., 30, of North Adams pleaded guilty to a single count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.

Pryce was ordered to serve two and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction. Pryce assaulted 26-year-old Jahda Martin in Pittsfield on March 6, 2010.

Single counts of murder and intimidation of a witness were dismissed by the state.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, May 23.

Fred Greer, 38, of Adams pleaded guilty to single counts of rape and indecent assault and battery.

Greer was sentenced to one year to one year and one day at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the rape charge. He was placed on one year probation on the other charge.

The incident occurred in Adams on April 2, 1022 and involved a 56-year-old woman.

David Beckett, 49, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault and battery on an elder and two counts of indecent assault and batter on a person who has attained 14.

He was sentenced to serve concurrent three to four year sentences at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.

The incident occurred in North Adams on December 28, 2010 an involved two women who are 19 and 66 years old.

An additional count of entering without breaking at night was dismissed by the state.


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Crash In Adams Breaks Pole, Sends 2 To Hospital
Staff Reports On: 06:15PM / Tuesday May 22, 2012
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ADAMS, Mass. — A pickup truck that tangled with a utility pole sent two people to the hospital early  Tuesday evening.

A gray 2011 Dodge Dakota Big Horn with Connecticut plates collided with a pole along the northbound lane of Howland Avenue, just across from Ronnie's Cycle Shop, cracking the pole near its base and smashing in the truck's front end. Parts of the truck's front bumper were scattered 20 to 30 feet north of the impact.

The driver, Amitpal Kharbanda, 28, of Summer Street, and her passenger, Donald Harding, 29, were taken to North Adams Regional Hospital. Police said the truck was a rental.

The crash happened about 5:21 p.m. It was not clear why the truck had veered into the pole and there were no apparent skid marks. Police were on the scene taking measurements.

Fire Chief Paul Goyette said the driver and passenger were being transported by Adams Ambulance Service to hospital. He said the original report had indicated that the vehicle was a tractor-trailer truck but that was not the case.

National Grid had been informed of the broken pole and were en route, said Goyette. A new pole was already lying along the roadside so the electrical company may have already been planning to replace the broken pole.

Adams Fire, Police and Ambulance Service responded to the scene and cones were set up to detour traffic around the immediate area.

Both occupants of the vehicle were transported from the scene by about 6 p.m. and National Grid had not yet arrived.

At 11 p.m., National Grid was still working on replacing the pole.

The accident is still under investigation and no cause had yet been determined.

Updated with names, more detail, and minor rewrites at 11 p.m.





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Superior Court Briefs: May 15 - May 17
Staff Reports On: 04:05PM / Monday May 21, 2012
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Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, May 15.

Maighan McKie, 31, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to violate drug laws and operating a vehicle with a suspended license.

She was released on $1,000 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Lenoxdale on April 3.
 
Shannon Bliss, 28, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

She was released on $2,500 cash or $25,000 surety bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at her home on April 19.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, May 16.

Stephen Matthews, 23, of  Pittsfield was found guilty by a jury of a single count of rape in connection with sexual assault on February 13, 2010 involving a 29-year-old woman.

Matthews was released on $1,000 bail on the condition that he abide by an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, report daily to the Probation Department, remain drug and alcohol free, submit to random testing, have no contact with the victim and live with his parents until sentencing on June 7.

He was found not guilty on an additional count of rape.

Joshua Floyd Holtzman, 30, of Joshua Tree, Calif. pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of oxycodone and single counts of possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

He was sentenced to 18 months at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession, conspiracy and one count of distribution. He was was placed on three years probation on the other distribution charge.

Holtzman sold oxycodone and was in possession of it when he was arrested on December 23, 2010 in North Adams. Two additional counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws were dismissed by the state.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, May 17.

Aaron Provencher, 37, of Hinsdale pleaded guilty to 12 counts of knowingly possessing visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct and three counts of dissemination of visual material of a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct.

He was released on personal recognizance pending sentencing on June 25. The incidents occurred in Hinsdale between November 10, 2009 and December 1, 2009.


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Mass Disturbance Follows Pittsfield Street Fair
By Joe Durwin On: 11:19PM / Thursday May 17, 2012
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Police made a number of arrests and used pepper spray to disperse the burgeoning crowd.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Melee broke out on Melville Street immediately following the conclusion of the first 3rd Thursday street fair of the season, resulting in extensive crowd control measures and multiple arrests.

According to the Police Department, the incident initially stemmed from a fight between two young women on the small side street just off North Street, then spiraled into chaos when two officers responding on the scene became surrounded by a large crowd of youths.

Capt. David Granger estimated that a crowd of more than 100 people, mostly teenagers, converged around the initial disturbance.

"They tried to break up the fight. A mob mentality took over, from the large crowd. Multiple arrests were made," he said.

Well over a dozen officers arrived on the scene, including three plain-clothed officers who emerged from an unmarked police vehicle as screaming teens ran in all directions. Pepper spray was used to push back the disorganized crush of onlookers, and several youths were seen leaving the scene showing visible signs of facial spraying. At least three young men were seen being subdued and handcuffed in the street and adjacent parking lot.

A number of the young people present at the disturbance voiced the opinion that excessive force was used in containing the initial incident.

"After 3rd Thursday, they told us we needed to get off the street, so we did, and there's some stupid people fighting," said one young girl, a relative of one of those arrested. "My nephew's standing there looking around, and nine cops tackled him for no reason. All of a sudden they're running around pepper spraying everybody."

Police ordered all pedestrians to clear Melville Street and intersecting North Pearl Street, opposite the Boys & Girls Club, a process made more complicated by a continuing stream of curious pedestrians from among the large crowd still circulating on North Street. The street remained closed for approximately a half-hour in the aftermath of the affray.

Granger said he would classify the incident as "a large disturbance" rather than a riot.





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Ex-School Counselor Pleads Not-Guilty To Rape Charges
Staff Reports On: 03:30PM / Tuesday May 15, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A former elementary school counselor had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf in Berkshire Superior Court on multiple charges of child sexual assault.

Scott M. Muir, 36, of Church Street, Stockbridge, was arraigned before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday afternoon. He was arraigned in Southern Berkshire District Court last month.

Muir is alleged to have assaulted three different children between 2003 and 2005 while working as a student center support coordinator at the former Stockbridge Plain School. The allegations relate to three girls under the age of 14 at the time, including two who lodged complaints about Muir in 2004.

Muir had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of rape of a child with force and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child child under 14 in connection with incidents that occurred between 2003 and 2005 and involved a girl who is now 16 years of age.

He also had not-guilty pleas entered on three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child child under 14 and one count of attempt to commit a crime, to wit: indecent assault and battery on a child child under 14. The incidents are alleged to have occurred in 2003 and 2004 and involved a girl who is now 18.

Muir also pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape of a child with force and four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child child under 14 in connection with incidents that allegedly occurred in 2003 and 2004 and involved a girl who is now 17 years of age.

All the incidents are alleged to have occurred at Stockbridge Plain School. The investigation was conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.

The Berkshire Eagle has reported that the Berkshire Hills Regional School District has refused to release personnel records based on the 2004 allegations to the press, although school officials told the newspaper the district is cooperating with law enforcement. The allegations were forwarded to state authorities but no charges were filed at the time; the third girl who came forward prompted a re-examination of the evidence.

Muir is a town employee, working as facilities manager and emergency management director, as well as being involved in the Fire Department and the Lee Volunteer Ambulance Service. The Eagle reports that Muir has been suspended from his town posts with pay.

Judge Ford released Muir on $10,000 cash or $100,000 surety bail on the condition he have no contact with the alleged victims or their families and not be in a caretaking role with children under 16. 


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