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Superior Court Briefs: Sept. 26 - Oct. 2
Staff Reports On: 12:20PM / Friday October 03, 2014
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Cases heard before judge John Agostini on Friday, September 26.
 
Toby Walton, 34, of Dalton was found guilty on single counts of trafficking in heroin and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. 
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction pending sentencing. The charges stem from a motor vehicle accident in Dalton on October 11, 2013. 
 
On Wednesday he was sentenced to serve four to eight years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the trafficking charge. The negligent operation of a motor vehicle was placed on file.
 
Cases heard before judge John Agostini on Monday, September 29.
 
Sarina Sweeney, 25, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of unarmed robbery, assault with intent to rob, illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of a large capacity weapon, illegal possession of a large capacity feeding device, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, breaking and entering in the nighttime and larceny.
 
She was ordered to serve concurrent two to three years state prison sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on all charges except larceny. She was given one concurrent year at the Berkshire County House of Correction on that charge.
 
The incident occurred in Pittsfield on January 25, 2013 and involved a 31-year-old woman and 36-year-old man. 
 
Single counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and illegal possession of a laded firearm were dismissed by the state.
 
Erich Rawlins, 30, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of larceny and fraudulent use of a credit card. 
 
Bail was set at $100. The incidents allegedly occurred in Pittsfield between April 12, 2014 and May 2, 2014.
 
Thomas Massey Jr. 43, of North Adams pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent nine-month sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 74 Liberty Street on March 17, 2014.
 
A single count of trafficking in cocaine was dismissed by the state.
 
Cases heard before judge John Agostini on Wednesday, October 1.
 
Antwan Saunders, 36, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of entering at night placing a person in fear, assault and battery, and strangulation or suffocation.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 cash or $250,000 surety. Saunders is accused of entering a home in Pittsfield and assaulting a 31-year-old woman on August 21, 2014.
 
Cases heard before judge John Agostini on Thursday, October 2.
 
Andrew Dupont, 21, of South Egremont had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of armed assault with intent to rob, two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, two counts of conspiracy to commit armed assault with intent to rob and single counts of armed robbery while masked, kidnapping while being armed with a firearm, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, intimidation of a witness or other person, illegal possession of a rifle or shotgun, conspiracy to commit armed robbery while masked,
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $100,000 bail. The charges stem from an incident in Great Barrington on August 20, 2014 and involved two men, ages 19 and 20.
 
Louis Ely Jr., 18, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of conspiracy to commit armed assault with intent to rob, two counts of conspiracy to commit assault by means of a dangerous weapon and single counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery while masked and conspiracy to commit kidnapping while being armed with a firearm.
 
Theodore Labonte, 20, of North Egremont had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of armed assault with intent to rob, two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, two counts of conspiracy to commit armed assault with intent to rob, conspiracy to commit assault by means of a dangerous weapon and single counts of armed robbery while masked, kidnapping while being armed with a firearm, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, intimidation of a witness or other person, illegal possession of a rifle or shotgun, conspiracy to commit armed robbery while masked, conspiracy to commit kidnapping while being armed with firearms.
 
Labonte was released on $20,000 cash or $200,000 surety bail. The charges stem from an incident in Great Barrington on August 20, 2014 and involved two men ages 19 and 20.


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Suspicious Blaze Destroys Vacant North Adams House
By Tammy Daniels On: 11:44AM / Friday October 03, 2014
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A vacant single-family home on Beaver Street went up in flames Friday morning.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Officials are investigating a suspicious blaze that destroyed a vacant house on Beaver Street early Friday morning.

Firefighters, the state fire marshal's office and Fire Director Stephen Meranti were looking through the burned-out structure later Friday morning. A tree that had fallen over the roof at 60 Beaver St. several months ago was still there — although the roof was gone and the tree heavily charred.

Meranti said the fire is considered suspicious. "There were no utilities connected," he said.

The call came in for a fully involved structure fire at about 3 a.m. Friday, Meranti said, and the police officer who arrived first at the scene confirmed the building was ablaze.

Heavy flames could be seen shooting from the roof and windows when firefighters arrived, he said, and the officer in charge, Lt. John Paciorek, called for a second alarm.

"No entry was attempted," Meranti said. "Our first concern was to protect the area — this was a defensive action."

The house sits near the intersection with Route 2; the only other structure near it is a two-family home to its north. The overgrown yard was only slightly singed although Meranti said more was burned behind the building.

It did not take long to contain the blaze and firefighters were familiar with the house's layout having entered when the tree fell on it earlier this summer. Meranti said the building was empty.

The owner of record, according to the Registry of Deeds, has last been Michael and Diane Kemp. Meranti said they had been notified.

What was left of the structure was to be knocked on Friday for safety reasons.



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Early Morning Fire Burns Down V's Doghouse
By Andy McKeever On: 08:47AM / Sunday September 28, 2014
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The Lanesborough Fire Department took this photo of the early morning fire.

Update 11:01 a.m. on Oct. 1, 2014:
The Sept. 28 fire at V's Dog House Restaurant was electrical, according state Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Lanesborough Fire Chief Charles A. Durfee.


The fire started inside a wall between the kitchen and bar around 4 a.m. The restaurant was closed at the time and there were no injuries. The estimated damage is $700,000. The building did not have fire sprinklers.

The fire was investigated by the Lanesborough Fire Department and state police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. Assistance was received from an electrical expert and State Police Crime Scene Services.


Update at 4:35 p.m.: The state fire marshal has ruled out arson as the cause of the blaze that destroyed V's Dog House early Sunday morning.

Fire Chief Charlie Durfee said there are two locations in the building that fire investigators are focusing on to determine the cause. He expected them to have an answer by noon Monday. 

The damage is estimated at $700,000, he said. The building (business was previously known as Zen's Dog House) was purchased by Edward L. Vella Jr. in 2009, according to documents in the Registry of Deeds.

Durfee also said the hydrants, owned by the Berkshire Mall, are maintained and functioning but firefighters ran into difficulties getting them open. There are no hydrants on the Route 8 side.

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — V's Doghouse on Route 8 burned to the ground early Sunday morning.

 
Fire Chief Charlie Durfee said there were no injuries in the blaze that was extinguished by volunteer firefighters from more than a half dozen departments. Route 8 is expected to be closed between the Berkshire Mall entrances until the afternoon.
 
"The call came to the Police Department for a window break, which set off the burglar alarm. That's how we knew. The Police saw smoke in the building and called us," Durfee said.
 
Durfee said the call came in at 4:30 a.m. 
 
"Upon arrival we had heavy smoke coming from the eaves and in a matter of 10, 15 minutes we had flames coming from the roof," said Durfee.
 
That triggered an immediate mutual aid call for neighboring departments. Some of the fire hydrants at the Berkshire Mall were not functioning so nearly all of the tankers in Central Berkshire were called in to shuttle water from one working hydrant, Berkshire Pond and a pond behind the restaurant.
 
"We're running about 14,000 gallons of water per trip," Durfee said. "Once we got the tankers rolling, we had all kinds of water."
 
Initially, firefighters mounted an interior attack but the heat and flames became too much. The fire was the fought from the exterior.
 
"The building has a metal roof and that holds the heat in, which feeds the fire. It just kept getting hotter, hotter and hotter. Once it went through the roof there was nothing we could do," Durfee said. "It is a total loss."
 
In total some 50 volunteer firefighters responded from Lanesborough, Richmond, Hinsdale, Dalton, Cheshire, Savoy, Adams Forest Wardens and Hancock. Clarksburg sent a tanker truck to Cheshire because all of the others in central county were in use. Williamstown covered Lanesborough's station. 
 
"For 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, this is a fantastic turnout," Durfee said.
 
The State Fire Marshal's office was on scene to determine the cause of the fire, which is currently unknown. 


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Third Man Found Guilty in Pittsfield Triple Murder
Staff Reports On: 04:19PM / Friday September 26, 2014
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Caius Veiovis from his mugshot in 2011.

UPDATED Sept. 29, 2014, at 3:00 p.m.

Hampden Superior Court Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder on Monday afternoon ordered that Caius Vieovus serve consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the charges of murder in the first degree against David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell.

He was given concurrent eight- to 10-year sentences on the other charges.


PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The third man accused in a triple killing in 2011 was found guilty of first-degree murder on Friday afternoon.

Caius Veiovis, also known as Roy Gutfinski, 34, was found guilty by a jury in Hampden Superior Court.

The jury deliberated for about 36 1/2 hours over a six-day period before returning its verdict of guilty on three three counts of murder in the first degree, three counts of kidnapping and three counts of intimidation of a witness or other person.

Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder ordered that Veiovis be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without the right to bail pending sentencing that will occur Monday at 2 p.m. in the Hampden court.

The jury found that Veiovis kidnapped and then killed 44-year-old David Glasser, 58-year-old Edward Frampton and 47-year-old Robert Chadwell. The three Pittsfield men were last seen at a Pittsfield apartment shared by Glasser and Frampton on Aug. 28, 2011. Their dismembered bodies were found in Becket that September.

Glasser was set to testify against Adam Lee Hall, 34, in a drug case.

Hall, of Peru, the primary defendant, was found guilty and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without the chance at parole. David Chalue, 47, of North Adams, was also found guilty of murder, kidnapping and intimidation of a witness in the highly publicized murders.

David Casey, 62, of Canaan, N.Y., is facing multiple charges of accessory after the fact for allegedly providing the equipment to bury the three bodies. He testified against Veiovis, Hall and Chalue at their trials.

All three were tried in Hampden County after defense attorneys convinced Kinder that the extensive coverage of the slayings in Berkshire County would prevent a fair trial.

The investigation was conducted by the Berkshire Detective Unit assigned to the District attorney's office and the Pittsfield Police Department. They were assisted by the FBI, the Berkshire County sheriff's office and members of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force.



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Superior Court Briefs: Sept. 22 - Sept. 24
Staff Reports On: 12:35PM / Friday September 26, 2014
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Cases heard before judge John Agostini on Monday, September 22.
 
Dylan Greiter, 25, of Stephentown, N.Y. pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving stolen property over $250, two counts of wanton destruction of property and single counts of larceny over $250, trespassing and being present where heroin is kept.
 
He was given a one-year suspended sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on all charges except trespassing. He was given a 30-day suspended sentence on that. He was also placed on two-years probation.
 
Greiter sold copper that belonged to Iberdrola Renewables. The incidents occurred between October 26, 2013 and November 12, 2013.
 
Jake Sawtelle, 25, of Dalton pleaded guilty to six counts of breaking and entering the daytime with intent to commit a felony.
 
He was ordered to serve 99 days of a two-year sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction. Sawtelle was also placed on two-years probation.
 
Sawtelle broke into homes in Becket, Hinsdale, Lanesborough and Richmond between January 10, 2013 and March 6, 2013. Three counts of larceny of a firearm were dismissed by the state.
 
Cases heard before judge John Agostini on Monday, September 22.
 
Arthur Jones III, 45, of Weymouth pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and battery on a person 60 years old or older and single counts of kidnapping, unarmed robbery, and larceny under $250.
 
He was sentenced to 10 to 15 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. He was given concurrent jail time on the other charges.
 
The charges stem from an incident in New Ashford involving a 61 year old man on March 19, 2013 and March 20, 2013. A single count of assault with intent to murder was dismissed by the state.
 
Shaun Koonce, 33, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense - and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent four to six years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the drug charges. He was given concurrent time at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the others.
 
The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on September 12, 2013.


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