Pittsfield Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Murder
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The suspect in the shooting murder of 18-year-old Keenan S. Pellot Jr. has has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.
Thomas Lee Newman Jr., 18, was arraigned on Monday afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court before Judge John Agostini.
Newman entered not-guilty pleas to single counts of murder, armed assault with intent to commit murder and illegal possession of a firearm, rifle or shotgun.
He is accused of killing Pellot and seriously wounding a 17-year-old boy in a midday shooting on Tyler Street on July 31, 2015.
The shooting set off a massive manhunt for Newman, who was being described as "armed and dangerous." He was arrested two days later in Utica, N.Y., and declined to fight extradition back to Pittsfield.
The investigation is being conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department, state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office and state police Crime Scene Services and Firearms Identification sections.
Superior Court Briefs: Aug. 24 - Aug. 27
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, August 24.
William Soper, 33, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to four counts of rape of a child with force, and single counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, and intimidation of a witness.
He was ordered to serve 10 to 12 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the rape of a child charges. He was given concurrent nine and a half to 10 years on the other charges.
The incidents occurred in Pittsfield between December 1, 2011 and January 31, 2012 and involved a 12-year-old girl.
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, August 26.
Daniel Chao, 39, of North Adams pleaded guilty to single counts of fraudulent use of a medical marijuana registration car or cultivation registration, and cultivation of marijuana.
He was ordered to serve one to two years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the fraudulent use of a medical marijuana registration card or cultivation registration charge and a concurrent one-day sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other charge.
Chao fraudulently used a medical marijuana registration card to cultivate marijuana in North Adams on October 9, 2013. Single counts of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of tetrahydrocannabinols with intent to distribute were dismissed by the state.
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, August 27.
Reymon Delacruz-Batista, 26, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and illegal ownership of a firearm.
He was released on $10,000 cash or $100,000 surety bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on his home on June 18, 2015.
Jose Liriano-Vasquez, 29, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of heroin, and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.
He was released on $2,500 cash or $25,000 surety bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on his home.
Shaun Morton, 45, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - his second offense - drug violation in a park zone, and possession of Suboxone.
He was released on $5,000 cash or $15,000 surety bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on June 11, 2015.
Lanesborough Police Warn Of Home Breaks
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Police are investigating a series of home break ins that occurred on Thursday and Friday.
Police Chief Timothy Sorrell said on Monday there were five successful break ins and one attempt. The thieves are entering through windows during the work day and stealing cash and coins.
"We had an attempt on Wednesday, a successful one on Thursday, and on Friday is when they hit us," Sorrell said. "They are cutting screens and getting in."
Wednesday's attempted break in on Summer Street at 9 a.m.was thwarted by an alarm system. On Thursday, a home on Scott Road was broken into and then four homes on North Main Street were broken into on Friday. All of the break ins occurred during the work day, with Friday's happening in the afternoon.
"It was in the 500-600 block of North Main," the chief said. "These homes are right on the main road."
On Friday, Police issued a reverse 911 call and a Facebook post warning residents of the break-ins. On Saturday, Pittsfield Police issued a similar call to residents there.
Sorrell said it appears that the break ins in both municipalities could be related. He says the crooks are passing up on valuable items, such as jewelry, in search of cash, even spare change.
On Monday, Cheshire Police also posted warning of several car break ins, though it isn't clear if that is related to the ones in Pittsfield and Lanesborough.
Sorrell warns residents to lock their doors and - despite the heat - close up the windows low to the ground.
"If they can reach it, they are lifting screens and getting in," Sorrell said.
Pittsfield Man Accused of Setting New York Thurway Shed On Fire
LARCHMONT, N.Y. — A Pittsfield, Mass. man was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly setting a New York State Thruway salt shed on fire.
Richard Cass, 54, is being charged with 4th degree arson, according to New York State Police.
Cass, an electrician with the Thruway, is accused of starting the fire in the salt shed, which triggered a "multi-alarm" response from area fire departments.
Many pieces of equipment was also damaged by the blaze Tuesday night.
Cass is scheduled to appear in the Town of Mamaroneck Court on Aug. 31.
Police Seize $32K Worth of Heroin From North Adams Home
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police seized an estimated $32,000 worth of heroin from a Union Street home on Tuesday.
Authorities arrested Christopher Therrien and charged him with trafficking in heroin following the raid at 440 Union Street.
The Berkshire County Drug Task Force, state police, and the Berkshire Community Action Team executed the search warrant at 7:11 p.m. on Tuesday. In the search 98 grams of heroin was seized with an estimated street value of $32,000. Police also found $1,622 in cash.
The warrant was based on an investigation of narcotics distribution from the home.
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