Decade-Old Lee Rape Case Comes To End
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It may have been quite the debacle and took more than a decade but the prosecutions of three men accused of raping a women in Lee in 1998 have come to an end.
William Jansen, 35, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court to one count of concealing or compounding a felony Wednesday and placed on two-years probation. Jansen was accused of videotaping Aaron Kincaid and Richard Lampron rape a woman in their Lee apartment in 1998.
Jansen pleaded guilty to misleading investigators about his own and the other two men's actions.
Last fall, Kincaid pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated rape on the then 27-year-old woman after multiple trials. Lampron was sentenced to seven to 10 years in 2005, which he is serving concurrently with a similar sentence for his conviction on another rape in 1999.
The case had taken a lot of twists and turns, with mistrials and Lampron fleeing the state prior to the first trial.
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Fire Breaks Out at Lee Resort
|Check out this video by The Berkshire Record. Thanks to firebug below for leading us to it.|
LEE, Mass. — A fire destroyed a lodge at Oak 'N Spruce Resort this morning. The building was not occupied at the time and the cause of the blaze is under investigation. A state fire marshal was seen arriving on the scene at 11 a.m.
The Lee Fire Department was backed up by South Lee, Stockbridge, Great Barrington, Lenox, Tyringham, Monterey and Stockbridge in containing the blaze that was believed to have started sometime around 5 a.m.
Firefighters said the call was received at 6:30 a.m. but one of the tenants in a nearby building is said to have smelled smoke shortly after 5 a.m. South Lee firefighter Garth Story said, "It was cooking pretty hot" when firefighters arrived on the scene.
It took more than two hours to douse the blaze in the heavily developed complex, which includes a number of three-story timeshare structures around a central "amenity core."
Meadow Street leading to the resort and a side road into the complex were closed to traffic.
The building was a two-story structure described The Berkshire Eagle as "Tanglewood Hall"; it is located next to the registration building.
The property was operated as a farm school for boys by the Episcopalian Diocese until being purchased and turned into a ski resort by Frank J. Prinz in 1947. Prinz sold the property to timeshare developers in 1985; it was greatly updated and expanded on by its current owner Silverleaf Resorts Inc.
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Kincaid Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Rape
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It's taken almost exactly a dozen years, two trials and numerous twists and turns through the court system to conclude the prosecution of Aaron Kincaid of Lenox.
Kincaid, 36, pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Monday morning to four counts of aggravated rape from an assault on a then 27-year-old woman on Sept. 24, 1998.
He was ordered by Judge John Agostini to serve concurrent 719-day sentences, or time already served, on the four charges at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Cedar Junction on the recommendation of the district attorney and his attorney. He was also placed on two years' probation on the condition he have no contact with the victim and a witness during the probationary period.
"We do not always achieve all that we aspire to in every case," said District Attorney David F. Capeless in a statement. "Today's sentence is not what was handed down back in 2001, but we have realized something else, something even more significant in this singular case – a vindication of the victim and the other witnesses after all these years, an affirmation under oath that they had, indeed, told the truth."
Kincaid was guilty of the same four charges in Superior Court in September 2001 and was ordered by Judge Thomas Curley to serve concurrent 15- to 18-year sentences in Walpole.
In May 2002, Kincaid filed a motion for a new trial and a post-verdict inquiry of the jurors. He alleged that the jury learned that a co-defendant, Richard C. Lampron Jr., had fled the state. Curley, who died in 2005, interviewed all the jurors and ordered a new trial for Kincaid.
The district attorney's office appealed the ruling and the Appeals Court agreed with the prosecution that any information about Lampron's flight came from juror speculation and not from some outside sources and that the evidence at trial permitted the jurors to infer that Lampron had fled. The court also ruled that the overwhelming evidence of Kincaid's guilt outweighed any influence that this information may have had upon the jury.
The Supreme Judicial Court granted further appellate review of the Appeals Court's decision and affirmed Curley's order allowing a new trial for Kincaid. His second trial in December 2006 before Agostini resulted in a mistrial after the jury failed to deliver a verdict. Kincaid subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the indictments on double jeopardy grounds in the Superior Court. Agostini denied the motion and the Appeals Court affirmed the Superior Court's order.
Lampron was captured in Pennsylvania in 2002 and subsequently charged; he was sentenced to seven to 10 years in 2005, which he is serving concurrently with a similar sentence for his conviction on another rape in 1999. A third man, William E. Jansen of Pittsfield, was charged in October 2005. He was prosecuted along with Kincaid in the trial that ended with a hung jury. Both he and Kincaid attempted to have the charges dismissed but an Appeals Court last December upheld the indictments.
The three men were sharing an apartment in Lee when Jansen allegedly videotaped a masked Lampron and Kincaid have sex with the woman. The tape never surfaced but witnesses who saw it say the woman appeared to have been incapacitated.
Capeless, who as first assistant district attorney was the prosecuter at Kincaid's first trial, had high praise for the victim and the police investigators who have made numerous court appearances since 2000.
"I have made every effort during the past 10 years to ensure that these horrible crimes were fully investigated and vigorously prosecuted, and that the convictions obtained were forcefully defended," he said. "I am gratified that our work and the decision of the first jury has finally been vindicated. The convictions in this case came about only as the result of a dogged, professional investigation by State Police Trooper Brian Berkel, the stoic persistence of the victim in seeing the case through, the commendable actions of the other witnesses in coming forward with their information, and the support and compassion shown to these persons by victim assistance advocate Mary Shogry. I am particularly pleased for all of them."
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Two Charged in Pittsfield Stabbing
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.
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