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Pittsfield Investigating Apparent Homicide

Staff Reports
Update at 5:30 p.m., Monday:
 
Dr. Mindy Hull, an associate medical examiner for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, conducted the autopsy on 38-year-old Joseph Brown on Monday in Boston. Dr. Hull's preliminary results ruled the manner of death as a homicide from a single gunshot wound to the chest.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city man was shot dead early Sunday morning, according to the district attorney's office.

The body of Joseph Brown, 38, of Pittsfield was found in his driveway at 343 Columbus Ave. at about 2 a.m. Sunday after 911 call reporting a man down.
 
District Attorney David Capeless' office said Brown appeared to have died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
 
"The body was removed from the scene by the office of the chief medical examiner and was transported to the Boston office, where an autopsy will be conducted tomorrow," reads a statement from the office.
 
Police are investigating the shooting as an apparent homicide and are asking anyone with any information to contact the department at 413-448-9700. 
 
The investigation is being conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department, assisted by the Berkshire detective unit of the State Police assigned to the district attorney's office, the Berkshire Law Enforcement Task Force and the Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services Section.
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Superior Court Briefs: July 11 - July 14

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, July 11.
 
Juan Lopez-Lucas, 34, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of assault and battery on a disabled person and a single count of caretaker abuse on a disabled person.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Lopez-Lucas is accused of assaulting a student while he was employed at Eagleton School on July 11, 2013.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, July 12.
 
Eric Cohen, 57, of New Marlborough was sentenced to concurrent 20 to 24 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on four counts of rape and abuse of a child aggravated by an age difference, four counts of rape of a child with force, two counts of rape, and a single count of assault on a child with intent to commit rape. He was sentenced to concurrent prison time on a number of other charges.
 
Cohen had previously pled guilty to four counts of rape and abuse of a child aggravated by an age difference, two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age 14 and a single count of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14, relating to sexual assaults on a girl who is now age 18 in New Marlborough between September 1, 2012 and January 12, 2014.
 
He also pleaded guilty to four counts of rape of a child with force and a single count of assault with intent to commit rape upon a child in connection with sexual assaults on a women who is now age 34 between January 1, 1992 and May 20, 1994 in North Adams.
 
On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to two counts of rape in connection with a woman who is now age 51 in North Adams between May 1, 2003 and May 21, 2003.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, July 14.
 
Michael Nash, 28, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
 
He was ordered to serve six months of a two-year sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction and placed on one-year probation. The charge stems from the execution of a search warrant at his home on March 25, 2016.
 
Arturo Bravo, 76, of Becket pleaded guilty to 11 counts of rape and abuse of a child without force, three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14, and single counts of assault on a child with intent to commit rape, and intimidation of a witness.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent seven to 10 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.
 
Bravo sexually assaulted three boys in Becket between July 1, 2002 and September 8, 2014. The victims are now ages 27, 20, and 14. A single count of rape and abuse of a child without force was dismissed by the state.
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Pittsfield Man Shot On Second Street Sunday

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A 25-year-old man was shot in the early hours of Sunday morning.
 
Police say 25-year-old Eric Cornielle was transferred to Bay State Medical Center after being shot in the are of the Second Street, Adam Street, and Pleasant Street intersection shortly after midnight.
 
Police and EMS responded to the call of a single victim with a gunshot wound in the roadway and Cornielle was transferred to Berkshire Medical Center, where he was reported to be in "critical but stable condition." He was then transferred to Bay State.
 
The incident is under investigation, according to police, and any one with information is asked to call the detective bureau at 448-9705 or file tips through the department's website.
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Superior Court Briefs: June 27 - July 7

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge Maureen Hogan on Monday, June 27.
 
Dale Crittelli, 36, of Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in North Adams on May 6, 2016.
 
Kristina Crittelli, 32, of Adams had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
She was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in North Adams on May 6, 2016.
 
Gavin Mahar, 23, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was released on $5,000 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in North Adams on May 6, 2016.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, July 5.
 
Eric Cohen, 57, of New Marlborough pleaded guilty to four counts of rape and abuse of a child, two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age 14, and a single count of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14. Those charges are in connection with sexual assaults on a girl who is now 18 in New Marlborough between September 1, 2012, and January 12, 2014.
 
He also pleaded guilty to four counts of rape of a child and a single count of assault with intent to commit rape upon a child in connection with assaults of a woman who is now 34 between January 1, 1992 and May 20, 1994. 
 
Cohen was released on $27,500 bail pending sentencing on July 12.
 
Richard Carnute, 54, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, strangulation or suffocation, intimidation of a witness, and violation of a restraining order.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail. The charges stem from an incident in Pittsfield involving a 51-year-old woman between June 5, 2016 and June 8, 2016.
 
Lexus Perez, 22, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, distribution of cocaine, and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop, in Pittsfield, on June 6, 2016.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, July 7.
 
Kenneth Rathbun, 53, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of cocaine - his second offense - two counts of possession of heroin - his second offense - and possession of heroin with intent to distribute.
 
He was ordered to serve three to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the possession of heroin with intent to distribute charge. He was given concurrent two-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other two charges.
 
The charges stem from motor vehicle stops in Pittsfield on September 17, 2015, November 17, 2015 and May 26, 2016.
 
Michael Rahilly, 29, of Hinsdale pleaded guilty to single counts of armed robbery, carrying a dangerous weapon, and possession of heroin.
 
Rahilly held up the Subway Shop on South Street in Pittsfield on August 9, 2015. 
 
He also pleaded guilty to a single count of larceny over $250 in connection with the theft of a television from Walmart on July 26, 2015.
 
He was ordered to serve two and a half to three years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the armed robbery charge. He was also given a concurrent two-year sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the carrying a dangerous weapon charge, and concurrent one-year sentences on the possession of heroin and larceny charges.
 
Angelique Alcombright, 28, of North Adams pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
She was ordered to serve two years to two years and a day at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Framingham. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on Angeli Street in North Adams on August 6, 2015.
 
Michael Purry, 41, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws, two counts of drug violation in a park zone, and single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.
 
He was ordered to serve two years to two and a half years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the possession of heroin and possession of cocaine charges. He was ordered to serve concurrent two and a half to two and half plus a day on the park zone charge, to be served after the first sentence. And given concurrent jail time on the other charges.
 
The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on September 16, 2015.
 
Single counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, armed career felon, illegal ownership of a firearm, and improper storage of a firearm were dismissed by the state.
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Vehicle Towing Boat Catches Fire Near Pontoosuc Lake

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

Reader John Friend submitted this photo of the blaze.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters were able to save a boat after the vehicle towing it caught on fire.
 
Deputy Fire Chief Mark Cancilla said he and six firefighters from two engines responded to Upper North Street, near Pontoosuc Lake between Zucchinis Restaurant and Hancock Road, shortly after 2:30 Wednesday to find a Honda Pilot towing a boat fully involved.
 
Firefighters blocked off the road and ran two hose lines to extinguish the blaze in just 15 minutes — quick enough to save the pontoon boat from further damage.
 
"It was a hot fire. It damaged the pavement," Cancilla said.
 
The occupant had gotten out of the SUV and escaped injury and no firefighters were harmed. Traffic was detoured over Hancock Road for about a half hour while the firefighters worked in temperatures approaching 90 degrees.
 
"It probably wasn't more than 15 minutes to put it out. It was great teamwork, especially in this hot weather," Cancilla said.
 
The front seats on the boat had begun to melt and catch fire when firefighters arrived, but the crew was able to halt any further damage.
 
"We saved the boat," Cancilla said.
 
Cancilla said it appears that the fire started when the trailer hitch broke and jammed into the rear wheel of the Pilot. The spark led to the fire — possibly fueled somewhat by a leak in the transmission line.
 
The Department of Environmental Protection was called in because a storm drain nearby goes into the river. Cancilla said firefighters plugged the drain up in hopes of preventing any contaminants from finding its way in. 
 
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association provides the following tips for towing trailers.
 
General Handling
 
  • Use the driving gear that the manufacturer recommends for towing. 
  • Drive at moderate speeds. This will place less strain on your tow vehicle and trailer. Trailer instability (sway) is more likely to occur as speed increases. 
  • Avoid sudden stops and starts that can cause skidding, sliding, or jackknifing. 
  • Avoid sudden steering maneuvers that might create sway or undue side force on the trailer.
  • Slow down when traveling over bumpy roads, railroad crossings, and ditches. 
  • Make wider turns at curves and corners. Because your trailer's wheels are closer to the inside of a turn than the wheels of your tow vehicle, they are more likely to hit or ride up over curbs. 
  • To control swaying caused by air pressure changes and wind buffeting when larger vehicles pass from either direction, release the accelerator pedal to slow down and keep a firm grip on the steering wheel.
Braking
 
  • Allow considerably more distance for stopping. 
  • If you have an electric trailer brake controller and excessive sway occurs, activate the trailer brake controller by hand. Do not attempt to control trailer sway by applying the tow vehicle brakes; this will generally make the sway worse. 
  • Always anticipate the need to slow down. To reduce speed, shift to a lower gear and press the brakes lightly.
Acceleration and Passing
 
  • When passing a slower vehicle or changing lanes, signal well in advance and make sure you allow extra distance to clear the vehicle before you pull back into the lane. 
  • Pass on level terrain with plenty of clearance. Avoid passing on steep upgrades or downgrades. 
  • If necessary, downshift for improved acceleration or speed maintenance. 
  • When passing on narrow roads, be careful not to go onto a soft shoulder. This could cause your trailer to jackknife or go out of control.
Downgrades and Upgrades
 
  • Downshift to assist with braking on downgrades and to add power for climbing hills. 
  • On long downgrades, apply brakes at intervals to keep speed in check. Never leave brakes on for extended periods of time or they may overheat. 
  • Some tow vehicles have specifically calibrated transmission tow-modes. Be sure to use the tow-mode recommended by the manufacturer.
Backing Up
 
  • Put your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel. To turn left, move your hand left. To turn right, move your hand right. Back up slowly. Because mirrors cannot provide all of the visibility you may need when backing up, have someone outside at the rear of the trailer to guide you, whenever possible. 
  • Use slight movements of the steering wheel to adjust direction. Exaggerated movements will cause greater movement of the trailer. If you have difficulty, pull forward and realign the tow vehicle and trailer and start again.
Parking
 
  • Try to avoid parking on grades. If possible, have someone outside to guide you as you park. Once stopped, but before shifting into Park, have someone place blocks on the downhill side of the trailer wheels. Apply the parking brake, shift into Park, and then remove your foot from the brake pedal. Following this parking sequence is important to make sure your vehicle does not become locked in Park because of extra load on the transmission. For manual transmissions, apply the parking brake and then turn the vehicle off in either first or reverse gear. 
  • When uncoupling a trailer, place blocks at the front and rear of the trailer tires to ensure that the trailer does not roll away when the coupling is released. 
  • An unbalanced load may cause the tongue to suddenly rotate upward; therefore, before un-coupling, place jack stands under the rear of the trailer to prevent injury.
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