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Drug Ring King Sentenced to Cedar Junction

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Ronnell Garmie, who killed a North Adams man in 2008, has been sentenced to prison on drug charges.

Garmie, of Bronx, N.Y., pleaded guilty on Thursday afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield to single counts of cocaine trafficking and consipiracy to violate drug laws (distribution of cocaine). Judge Daniel Ford sentenced the 21-year-old Garmie to five to 5 1/2 years at Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the trafficking charge and a concurrent prison sentence on the conspiracy charge.

The charges stem from the night of Aug. 20, 2008, when authorities believe Walter tried to steal cocaine from a residence at Wheel Estates Mobile Home Park at which Garmie was staying. Garmie stabbed Walter during a scuffle at a residence; Walter, 24, was found by police on a neighboring lawn suffering from multiple stab wounds. He was transported to North Adams Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A grand jury declined to indict Garmie on charges related to the slaying. However, the investigation into the death resulted in the breakup of a drug ring operating out of the city.

Garmie was indicted on multiple drug charges and held on $100,000 bail; eight others were arraigned on a variety charges.

Garmie was found to have possessed more than 28 grams of cocaine on the night of Aug. 20, 2008. He also conspired with other others to sell cocaine in North Adams between Aug. 1, 2008, and Aug. 20, 2008. 

One suspect, Shelly L. Nichlen, then 30, pleaded guilty last March to single counts of furnishing misleading information to a police officer related to aiding Garmie to flee the scene. At the same court appearance, she pleaded guilty to single counts of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, larceny of more than $250 and misleading a police officer in connection with a robbery at Cumberland Farms on Dec. 2, 2007. Nichlen also pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws and violating a drug-free school zone from motor vehicle stop in North Adams in April 2008. 

She was ordered to serve concurrent four- to five-year state prison sentences in Walpole.

Walter's mother, Constance Pratt, who drove him to the scene, was placed on probation.

The owner of the mobile home, Tina Senecal, 54, pleaded guilty on Feb. 3, 2011, in Berkshire Superior Court to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws (distribution of cocaine). She admitted to selling cocaine in North Adams between Aug. 1 and Aug. 20, 2008. 

Judge John Agostini gave her a suspended 18-month sentence in the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession charge and two years' probation on both charges on the condition she remain drug and alcohol free and undergo testing during the probationary period. A count of furnishing misleading information to a police officer was dismissed at the request of the commonwealth.

Garmie was found to have possessed more than 28 grams of cocaine on the night of Aug. 20, 2008. He also conspired with other others to sell cocaine in North Adams between Aug. 1, 2008, and Aug. 20, 2008. 

The investigation was conducted by members of the North Adams Police Department and state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.

Updated on Feb. 3, 2011, to insert Senecal's sentencing.

Tags: drugs, Garmie, stabbing      

Pittsfield Woman Pleads Guilty in Husband's Slaying

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Pittsfield woman pleaded guilty to a single count of involuntary manslaughter on Friday morning in Berkshire Superior Court in the stabbing death of her husband, Arthur Martin, a year ago.

Sentencing for Charlene Grandson, Martin, 46, of West Street, was continued by Judge John A. Agostini until 2 p.m. on July 8.

Arthur Martin, 49, died Feb. 8 at Berkshire Medical Center from a stab wound inflicted the night before. Grandson Martin had told police her husband had the knife and they were joking around when he was struck by the knife as she pushed is arm away.

Police said an investigation found her story didn't match the facts.

For last year's articles, click here.

Tags: Martin, stabbing, fight, murder, manslaughter, Superior      

Two Charged in Pittsfield Stabbing

Staff Reports

Updated 3:17 p.m., March 8: Two men were arrested and charged with the Saturday morning stabbing death of Jahda M. Martin.

Trevor L. Pryce Jr., 28, of Spring Street, North Adams, and John C. Spratling, 26, of Cherry Street, Pittsfield, were arraigned on single counts each of murder and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.

The two appeared before Judge Paul Vrabel on Monday morning in Central Berkshire District Court. Both had not-guilty pleas entered on their behalf and were ordered held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without the right to bail.

They are scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing on April 8.

Investigators have also applied for and received an arrest warrant for 26-year-old Terrance W. Brown in connection with Martin's death.

An autopsy to determine the cause of Martin's death has not yet been scheduled.

Once a star athlete at Lee High School, the 2002 graduate had also played basketball while attending Long Island University.

Pittsfield Man Slain in Stabbing

Original post, March 7, 9:42 a.m.: A Pittsfield man died Saturday evening after apparently being stabbed earlier Saturday in an altercation near the Burger King on First Street.
The Berkshire district attorney's office said that Jahda M. Martin, 26, of Hamlin Street, was rushed to Berkshire Medical Center by ambulance in the early morning hours after police received several 911 calls at about 1:40 a.m. reporting a stabbing in the fast-food restaurant's parking lot on Wendell Avenue Extension. Police and emergency medical technicians found Martin at the scene.

The Berkshire Eagle reported that the lot is commonly used for parking by patrons of nearby Club Groove and that police said Martin had left the bar when the altercation occurred. This is the city's first homicide of the year.

An autopsy to determine the cause of death will be conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Holyoke. The date and time of the autopsy have yet to be determined.

Investigators are asking anyone who may have information regarding this incident to call the Pittsfield Police Department at 413-448-9700.
The investigation is being conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department, state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office, state police from the Crime Scene Services Section and members of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force. 

Tags: Martin, stabbing, fight, murder      
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