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North Adams Police Investigating Shot That Broke Restaurant Window

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff
Update, Friday at 5:45 p.m.: Update: Police are continuing the investigation into the firing of a bullet that smashed through a window at Public Eat & Drink restaurant on Thursday afternoon. The bullet traveled through the eatery, which was busy with patrons at the time, and struck a woman eating her lunch. The woman was not seriously injured and did not require treatment.
 
Police Director Michael Cozzaglio wrote in an email on Friday that the shot may have been aimed at a traffic light at the intersection of Holden, Center and Route 2.
 
"It would seem as though someone may have shot at the traffic light, which is in front of the restaurant window," he said. "The shot missed the traffic light and went through the window."
 
However, the shot is still considered to be a random incident that was not directed at any individual or at the restaurant or building. 
 
Anyone with information about the shooting, which occurred at about 2:40 p.m. on Thursday in the vicinity of the artery is asked to contact North Adams Police. The scene was processed by state police investigators from the crime scene and ballistics divisions.
 
"We want to thank the management and staff at Public restaurant for their cooperation through this investigative process," Cozzaglio said.
 
The restaurant was closed Thursday evening but reopened for regular business on Friday.
 

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police are investigating a shot fired through a window at Public Eat & Drink restaurant on Thursday afternoon. 

 
No one was seriously injured in the incident that was reported about 2:46 p.m.but the restaurant was closed for the evening, according to a sign posted on the door. 
 
Police Director Michael Cozzaglio said the area was being treated as a crime scene and that state police Crime Scene Services and ballistics had been called in to process the scene. 
 
The investigators will try to determine the trajectory of the bullet and where it might have originated. The bullet did graze or touch one of the customers, he said.
 
"A woman had minor injuries to her head, very minor," he said, adding that she had declined treatment. "She was just sitting down having lunch."
 
The shot came through the top of the farthest west of the three windows on the Center Street side of the corner restaurant. Police blocked off the entrance into the parking lot on that side and ran yellow tape to prevent anyone from getting near the side of the building or the public way next to it. 
 
Employees were still in the restaurant and some patrons were exiting the eatery shortly before 5 p.m. 
 
Cozzaglio said police know where the bullet entered the building, where the woman was sitting and where it ended up. What's not known is the origin of the bullet, its path inside the building and whether it might have ricocheted.
 
Police will be checking to see if there are any security cameras that might provide a clue as to what occurred. Cozzaglio said it appears, at least at this point, that it was a random shot and not intentional in regard to the restaurant. 
 
"There's nothing to lead us to believe that there's anything directly related to Public," he said.
     

Steele-Knudslien Arraigned on Murder Charge in Superior Court

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A man accused of killing his wife was arraigned Monday morning in Berkshire Superior Court on a murder charge. 
 
Mark S. Steele-Knudslien, 47, entered a plea of not guilty of one charge of murder in connection with the death of his wife, 42-year-old Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien.
 
Steele-Knudslien allegedly beat his wife with a hammer and stabbed her on the evening of Jan. 5 in their Veazie Street home in North Adams. Police say they discovered her body, wrapped up in the basement, after her husband entered the Adams Police Station hours later to report the crime.
 
Judge John Agostini ordered Steele-Knudslien continued to be held without bail at the Berkshire County House of Correction. Steele-Knudslien had previously entered a not-guilty plea in Northern Berkshire District Court on Jan. 8.
 
The couple had apparently lived in Adams and, before that, the Springfield area before moving to North Adams last March. They were married in April 2017.
 
The investigation is being conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office, members of the North Adams and Adams police departments and the Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services Section.
     

North Adams Man Pleads Not Guilty in Murder of Wife

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A North Adams man pleaded not guilty on Monday morning in Northern Berkshire District Court of murdering his 42-year-old wife, Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien
 
Mark S. Steele-Knudslien, 47, is accused of beating and stabbing his wife to death on Friday evening in their 107 Veazie St. home. 
 
Judge Paul Vrabel ordered that he be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without the right to bail. Steele-Knudslien will be back in court for a pre-trial hearing on Feb. 7, 2018.
 
According to police reports, Mark Steele-Knudslien admitted to police that he had hit Christa numerous times  in the head with a hammer and stabbed her in the back with a large, stainless-steel kitchen knife.
 
Steele-Knudslien walked into the Adams Police Station at about 8:40 p.m. on Friday asking to speak privately with an officer. According to the report submitted by Trooper Ryan H. Dickinson of Berkshire Detective Unit, Steele-Knudslien told Officer Michael Wandrei that "he had done something very bad and that he should be put in handcuffs."
 
Steele-Knudslien was not cuffed at that point but was read his Miranda Rights, which he acknowledged, and then told the officers he had killed his wife. North Adams Police were alerted and entered the Veazie Street home, finding Christa's body wrapped in tarp and bedding and tied up in the basement.
 
The medical examiner's report found blunt force trauma and injuries consistent with defensive wounds; the knife stabbed into her back punctured her heart. Cause of death was blood loss. 
 
During a recorded 29-minute interview, Steele-Knudslien told police that he and his wife had gotten into an argument the day before and that she often belittled him and called him names. On Friday, he "snapped," according to the report, and attacked her at about 5 p.m. on Friday in their living room. 
 
After killing her, according to the report, he tried to clean up, took a shower and went out to buy alcohol. It's not clear why he approached the Adams Police but neither of the Steele-Knudsliens appear to be local to the area and they had lived more recently in Adams.
 
Christa Steele-Knudslien, nee Steele, is originally from Rochester, Minn., according to her Facebook page. She apparently lived in Western Massachusetts for some time, particularly the Springfield area, before moving to the Berkshires. One of her two Facebook pages shows images and posts about fixing up the Veazie Street house that she purchased in March 2017 under the name Christa L. Torres.
 
She also was a founder and chief executive officer of the Miss Trans New England Pageant, apparently as Christa Hilfers, and a founder of New England Trans Pride.
 
The Steele-Knudsliens were married April 15, 2017. In a Facebook post a few months before that, Christa had written that "My husband and I are going to try to work things out." 
 
This is the first murder in the city since 2013.
 
Friends of Christa have started a GoFundMe to help defray funeral costs.
 

Steele-Knudslien Murder Case by iBerkshires.com on Scribd

     

North Adams Man Charged With Murdering Wife


Mark S. Steele-Knudslien and Christa Steele-Knudslien
Update Jan. 7, 2018: The North Adams woman killed on Friday was stabbed and bludgeoned to death, according to an autopsy conducted on Sunday afternoon. 
 
The preliminary results, according to Dr. Robert Welton, an associate medical examiner for the Office of the Chief Medical, indicate Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien died of loss of blood because of a stab wound to the torso; a contributing factor was multiple blunt-force trauma to the head.
 
Welton ruled the death a homicide.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A North Adams man has been charged with murder in connection with the death of his wife.

 
Mark S. Steele-Knudslien, 47, has been arrested and charged with one count of Murder. It is alleged that he killed his wife, 42-year-old Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, whose body was found inside their Veazie Street North Adams home Friday evening.
 
An autopsy, to determine her cause of death, will be conducted at the Office of the Chief
Medical Examiner in Holyoke on Sunday.
 
Steele-Knudslien will be arraigned on the murder charge Monday morning in Northern Berkshire District Court. He is being held without the right to bail pending his arraignment.
 
The investigation is being conducted by State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office, members of the North Adams and Adams Police Departments and State Police Crime Scene Services Section.
 
Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien is originally from Rochester, Minn., according to information on one of her two Facebook pages. She was active in the trans community and had produced the Miss Trans New England pageant. The Steele-Knudsliens were apparently married last April.
     

North Adams Woman Injured When Her SUV Hits House

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A 47-year-old North Adams woman was taken to Berkshire Medical Center's Pittsfield campus after her sport utility vehicle slammed into a portico on Church Street. 
 
The accident occurred about 9:51 a.m. on Thursday morning during the snowstorm. The driver was coming down Pleasant Street when her 2003 Ford Expedition began sliding. She was unable to control the SUV as it slid down the steep hill, across Church Street and into 193 Church. 
 
"There was significant structural damage to the front porch and front entrance," said Sgt. James Burdick, but the building inspector determined the house itself was habitable. 
 
The Ford took out one of the two Doric columns holding up the roof over the portico and severely damaged the other one. There also appeared to be damage to the building leading into the entryway. 
 
Burdick said firefighters, police, building and wire inspectors and North Adams Ambulance Service responded to the scene. The driver incurred head injuries but no one else was injured. Church Street was closed for about 90 minutes until the scene was cleared. 
 
Despite the poor weather conditions, only a few accidents had occurred by early afternoon, including single-car accident on Curran Highway with no injuries and a more serious one on Old State Street near Dorans around 2, according to scanner reports.
 
Burdick encouraged motorists, that if they had to be out in the weather, to drive slowly, make sure they kept appropriate distances from vehicles in front of them, and had the correct tires for driving. 
     
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