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Superior Court Briefs: Aug. 1 - Aug. 3

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, August 1.
 
Matthew Minori, 24, of North Adams had not guilty plea entered on his behalf on single counts of trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on May 17, 2017. 
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, August 2.
 
Lance Joppich, 45, of North Adams pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, two counts of indecent assault and battery, and a single count of assault with intent to commit rape.
 
He was ordered to serve five to eight years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the rape and assault with intent to commit rape charges. He was given concurrent four to five years on the other charges.
 
Joppich assaulted a 19-year-old girl in North Adams between March 1, 2016 and April 19, 2016.
 
Michael Womack, 38, of Torrington, Conn. pleaded guilty to three counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, and single counts of illegal possession of a firearm, intimidation of a witness, and operating under the influence of alcohol - his third offense. 
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent three to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the illegal possession of a firearm and assault by means of a dangerous weapon. He was given concurrent time at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the operating under the influence charge. The intimidation of a witness charge was placed on file.
 
The charges stem from an incident in Lenox on August 10, 2016. Single counts of illegal possession of a loaded firearm, armed career felon, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, using a motor vehicle without authority, and disturbing the peace were dismissed by the state.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, August 3.
 
Damien Greene, 38, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - his second offense.
 
He was released on $7,500 bail. The charge stems from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on May 17, 2017. 
 
Robert Smith, 39, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of leaving the scene of personal injury accident death resulting, misleading a police officer, attempt to burn a motor vehicle, and tampering with evidence.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Smith is accused of being the operator of a motor vehicle that struck and killed 53-year-old Gerald Scott Jr. in Pittsfield on January 19, 2017.
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10 Arrested for Blocking Roads Near Sandisfield Gas Pipeline Project

SANDISFIELD, Mass. — Ten protestors were arrested Wednesday morning for blocking roads to the natural gas pipeline extension project. 
 
State police said two groups — one at Cold Spring Road and South Beech Plain Road, the other at an access road —were peacefully blocking workers' access to the work area. Private security officers notified state police of the blockade at about 6:47 a.m. on Wednesday. 
 
Protestors were asked to disperse but informed "security they were refusing to leave and understood that would face arrest," according to state police. Troopers also asked them to disperse repeatedly and when they refused, they were arrested for trespassing. 
 
The controversial Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. expansion of an existing line cuts through Otis State Forest and has been opposed by area residents as well as advocates against fracked gas and new pipeline infrastructure. A protest group has been in place in Sandisfield since clearing began for the nearly 4-mile loop. 
 
Arrested were: 
  • Irvine Sobleman, 67, of Northampton;
  • Ellen M. Graves, 76, of West Springfield;
  • Patricia P. Wieland, 73, of Northampton;
  • Harriet A. Nestel, 78, of Athol;
  • Amanda L. Nash, 58, of Gloucester;
  • Erik W. Burcroff, 57, of Plainfield;
  • Priscilla Lynch, 65, of Conway;
  • Mary E. Kehler, 70, of Colrain;
  • Bonner J. McAllister, 68, of Monterey; and
  • Sherrill Hogen, 78, of Charlemont.
The arrestees were transported to the Berkshire County sheriff's department to be booked. They were expected to be released, most likely on personal recognizance, and ordered to appear in court for arraignment in the near future.
 
The roadways were reopened by 9:10 a.m.
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Body of Bash Bish Falls Victim Recovered

EGREMONT, Mass. — The body of a Ghent, N.Y., man who slipped off a rock at Bash Bish Falls on July 28 has been recovered.

Authorities on Saturday were able to recover the body of 21-year-old Aiden Campion-Pratt from the waterfall at Bash Bish Falls in Mount Washington.

The body apparently became dislodged overnight by natural means from the crevice in which it had been trapped and was captured by netting placed in a pool below the crevice for just that eventuality.

The body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Holyoke for an examination on Sunday.

Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless said, "We are grateful that Aiden will be returned to his family and that a measure of closure can be theirs. Our gratitude also goes out to the many investigators and rescue personnel who made this possible."

Those involved in the search and recovery effort included members of the Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team, the state Department of Conservation and
Recreation, the Columbia County, N.Y., and Berkshire County sheriff's departments; state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office; the Pittsfield, Egremont and Copake, N.Y., fire departments' Massachusetts and New York state police, the Columbia County and Berkshire fire coordinators, and Fastracs Excavating of Red Hook, N.Y
.

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