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Superior Court Briefs: July 10 - July 12

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, July 10.
 
George Bliss Jr., 31, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to five counts of armed robbery in connection with a series of robberies in Pittsfield between January 7, 2016 and January 24, 2016.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent two and a half to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.
 
A single count of armed robbery was dismissed by the state.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, July 11.
 
Derrick Saunders Jr., 22, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of illegal possession of a large capacity feeding device, illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of a loaded firearm, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, and possession of counterfeit notes.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent two and a half to three years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the illegal possession of a large capacity feeding device and illegal possession of a firearm. He was given concurrent time on the possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card and possession of counterfeit notes. The illegal possession of a firearm charge was placed on file.
 
The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on December 12, 2016.
 
Bryan Raney, 30, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age 14.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. The incidents allegedly occurred in Pittsfield on May 5, 2017 and the alleged victim is a 28-year-old woman.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, July 12.
 
Brian Ducksworth, 26, of Hartford, Conn. pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws in connection with the execution of a search warrant on Jackson Street in North Adams on December 15, 2015.
 
He pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws in relation to the execution of a search warrant on West Shaft Road in North Adams on July 26, 2016.
 
Ducksworth was ordered to serve concurrent two and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the 2016 charges and placed on probation for two years on the others.
 
Amanda Swift, 23, of Plymouth pleaded guilty to single counts of attempted arson of a dwelling house and burning personal property.
 
The charges were continued without a finding. Swift attempted to set fire to Barton's Crossing in Pittsfield on April 18, 2016.
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Pittsfield Police Officer Facing Charges for Off-Duty Incident

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Pittsfield Police officer was arraigned Wednesday for charges stemming from an off-duty incident that occurred on July 4, 2016.

Officer Michael McHugh, 42, an 18-year veteran of the department,had not-guilty please entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, misleading a police officer or other person, and being a public employee making a false report.

He is accused of assaulting a 54-year-old man in Pittsfield on Indendence Day last year. It is also alleged that he generated a false report about the assault on July 6, 2016.

The investigation was conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department.

Superior Court Judge John Agostini released McHugh on personal recognizance on the condition that he have no contact with the alleged victim.

McHugh has been under investigation by Internal Affairs since August 2016 because allegations related to the above incident.

Subsequently, the investigation was reassigned to the Detective Bureau to conduct a criminal investigation. The criminal investigation resulted in the charges for which McHugh has been arraigned. The Internal Affairs investigation has been referred to the Appointing Authority under Civil Service requirements.

McHugh, who joined the force in 1999, remains on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the required Civil Service processes.

"Whenever the Pittsfield Police Department becomes aware of alleged misconduct by any of our members, we take those allegations very seriously. Complete and thorough investigations are conducted and when warranted, referrals are made to the appropriate criminal justice partners. Service as a police officer requires a high degree of public trust, and police officers, justifiably, are held to a higher standard," said Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn.

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Homeless Man Arrested in North Adams Tire Slashings

By Jack Guerino
iBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police arrested a homeless man who is suspected of slashing and popping at least 20 vehicle tires throughout the downtown.
 
Lt. Jason Wood said Henry Vasquez, was arrested Friday after the police identified him using video surveillance from a local business. 
 
"One of the local business had video surveillance of him and one of our detectives were able to identify him," he said. "Ten minutes later the officer was headed down to State Street to take a complaint of a slashed tire and lo and behold, there he was walking up the road."
 
Wood said the bulk of the slashings took place Thursday, July 6, between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight throughout the downtown.
 
"At least 20 cars, but we are still getting complaints," he said. "It was downtown, this parking lot, the Center Street lot and Marshall Street. It was basically the downtown area."  
 
Wood said Vasquez faces multiple charges of malicious destruction of property.
 
If there are any other vehicles that were affected and have not been reported, victims are asked to call the North Adams Police Department. 
 
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Three Pittsfield Men Arrested For Sunday Night Shooting

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police arrested three men for a Sunday evening shooting. 
 
Police arrested Jose "Chewy" Torres, 36, Dashine Moore, 38, and Juan Garcia-Rijos, 24, on Thursday night. The three are being held in related to a shooting on Memorial Drive Sunday night.
 
Police say at about 8:30 p.m. a vehicle on Memorial Drive was struck by gunfire. There were no injuries reported. The investigation led to the arrest warrants of the three Pittsfield men.
 
Over the course of two hours on Thursday night, Police, the Sheriff's Department, and the officers from the department's anti-crime unit arrest all three without incident. They were arranged in Central Berkshire District Court on Friday.
 
Sunday's shooting was the first in three consecutive days with violent crime incidents. On Monday, a man was stabbed on Tyler Street. In that case, Miguel Rivera-Montes and Iris J. Berrios-Burgos were both arrested and charged. On Tuesday, a man was shot and killed on John Street. There has been no word on an arrest in that case. 
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Superior Court Briefs: July 6

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, July 6.
 
Richardo Lozada, 39, of Adams pleaded guilty to a single count of trafficking in heroin.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction until sentencing on Sept. 26. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on Orchard Street in Adams on October 22, 2015.
 
A single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws was dismissed by the state.
 
William Morrison Jr., 33, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to two counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, two counts of larceny over $250, two counts of receiving stolen property, and single counts of larceny of a firearm, illegal possession of a firearm, and illegal possession of a rifle or shotgun.
 
He was ordered to serve two years at the Berkshire County House of Correction on a single count of breaking and entering in the daytime. He was given one year for a single count of larceny over $250. And he was placed on one-year probation on the other charges.
 
The charges stem from several house breaks in Pittsfield between July 14, 2014 and September 10, 2014. A single count of receiving stolen property was dismissed by the state.
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