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Police Inundated With Murder Rumors

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In the wake of finding two dead bodies, rumors about multiple violent attacks on women have been spreading like wildfire.

Police say they have been "inundated" with phone calls asking for information. The rumors, apparently being spread over the Internet, insinuate that there is an outbreak of violent crime and the police have requested federal assistance. That information is false and has no factual basis, police said.

"We believe these rumors are the result of speculation surrounding the recent discoveries of two bodies in the city. The first occurred in February in Canoe Meadows and the second last week in a wooded area off of West Street," Police Chief Michael Wynn said in a written statement.

"While both of those incidents are tragic, both have been investigated. There is no evidence of foul play in either case. Both were reported to the media as soon as the necessary notifications were made."

On Friday, Police discovered the body of Virginia May Brown, 49,  in a wooded area behind St. Mark School and the body of Beverly Tanner, 57, at Canoe Meadows wildlife sanctuary in late February. Tanner was initially ruled a suicide while Brown, who had been missing since January, is believed to have died from exposure. In either case, foul play was ruled out by police.

"Since there is no known crime series to investigate, there is no investigation for which to request assistance," Wynn said.

Police is asking the public to halt the spread of the rumors.

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Pittsfield Police Find Dead Body

Andy McKeever

 PITTSFIELD, Mass - The body of 49-year-old Virginia May Brown turned up in a wooded area behind St. Mark School.

 
Brown was reported missing in January after her landlord found the door of her apartment and nobody home. She was last seen in the city on Jan. 7.
 
She was found Friday afternoon and an autopsy was performed Sunday at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston by Kimberly Springer, according to police.
 
Police do not suspect foul play and an official cause of death has not yet been determined pending the outcome of toxicology and further testing.
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Superior Court Briefs: March 14 - March 16

Andy McKeever

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, March 14.

Michele Lynn Mathews, 44, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, manufacturing cocaine, drug violation in a school zone, possession of morphine, and possession of clonazepam.

The charges stem from execution of a search warrant at 82 Lincoln St. on June 9, 2010. The possession of morphine and possession of clonazepam charges were second offenses. An additional charge of drug violation within a school zone was dismissed.

She was sentenced to three to five years in state prison at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction for the manufacturing cocaine. She was given concurrent Berkshire County House of Correction sentences on the other charges.

Lionell B. Pittman Jr.
, 21, of Beacon, N.Y.  pleaded guilty to single counts of mayhem, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, larceny from a person, assault and battery and intimidation of a witness.

Pittman was sentenced to four to six years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on all charges except the assault and battery charge. He was given two years for that charge to be served concurrently at the Berkshire County House of Correction. One county of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon was dismissed at the request of the state.

Pittman assaulted a 19-year-old male in Great Barrington on Sept. 16, 2009.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, March 15.

Robert L. Johnson III, 24, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf for a bevy of charges.

He was charged with single counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the daytime with intent to commit a felony, breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony, attempt to misuse a credit card, and attempt to commit larceny under $250. He was charged with eight counts of larceny under $250, six counts of improper use of a credit card under $250, two counts of larceny of a credit card and two counts of receiving stolen property over $250.

Johnson allegedly broke into two motor vehicles, took credit cards and using them to obtain merchandise. The incidents allegedly occurred in the county between August and October of 2010.

Bail is set at $100 because Johnson is already being held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on other charges.

Nicholas Heller, 21, of Great Barrington pleaded guilt to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, drug violation within a school zone, and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

Heller was ordered to serve a total of three years at the Berkshire County House of Correction and two years of probation. The charges stem from a Feb. 24, 2009 incident in Lee.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, March 16.

Brendon Klein, 29, pleaded guilty to several charges resulting from a Jan. 30, 2009 assault of a 51-year-old man and a 53-year-old woman in Pittsfield.

Klein pleaded guilty to two counts of armed assault with intent to rob and one count of assault and battery by mean of a dangerous weapon.

He was given a 15 month sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and placed on two years probation for the remaining charges. In part of the probation Klein must perform 100 hours of community service, refrain from using drugs and alcohol and undergo testing and counseling.

Gregory Mathews, 46, pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, manufacturing cocaine and possession of morphine as well as two counts of drug violation in a school zone.

He was given concurrent three to four year prison sentences at the Massachusetts Correctional institution at Cedar Junction. The charges stem from an execution of a search warrant at 82 Lincoln Street in Pittsfield on June 9, 2010.

James A. Davis, 49, of Pittsfield was found guilty on multiple drug charges.

Davis sold cocaine in Pittsfield on three occasions in March 2009 and was in possession of cocaine, oxycodone and hydrocodone when arrested on March 10, 2009.

Davis will be held without bail until his sentencing hearing on March 22. He was guilty for three counts of distribution of cocaine, one count of possession of cocaine, one count of possession of oxycodone and one count of possession of hydrocodone.

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Stockbridge Home Damaged by Fire

Nichole Dupont

A fire on Clark Road destroyed the enclosed sunroom of a residential home.

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — A fire that destroyed the back of a Clark Road home on Tuesday afternoon was contained with the aide of firefighters from four departments.

Stockbridge Fire Chief Ernest "Chuck" Cardillo said the blaze at the home was reported by a neighbor at around 3:15 p.m. Fortunately, he said, no one was in the house when the fire broke out.

"The daughter had just gotten dropped off from school and she didn't even go into the house because she saw the fire," Cardello said. "I think the neighbor saw it at the same time because that's when we got the call. We were able to contain the fire within 20 or 30 minutes."
 
Although the cause has not been determined, Cardello said it began on the enclosed back porch, or sunroom, and spread upwards into the attic. A pellet stove was in the room but was not being used.

"Actually the homeowner told us that he had just finished building the porch not too long ago," he said. "There's a significant amount of damage but fortunately the house wasn't totaled. It can be rebuilt and no one was hurt."

Trucks from Lee, Lenox and Great Barrington were called in to assist and the Lee Ambulance was also called in to stay on standby.

Cardello said the muddy road, which is located in a swampy area, did present problems for fire trucks that had to back out upon leaving the scene.

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Pittsfield Woman Injured in New Ashford Crash

Staff Reports

NEW ASHFORD, Mass. — A Pittsfield woman was injured in a single-car crash on Thursday morning on Route 7.

Guadalupe Santiago-Castro, 23, was transported to Berkshire Medical Center after apparently losing control of her 2003 Trailblazer just north of The Mill on the Floss restaurant on New Ashford Road. The accident was reported at 9:10 a.m. and witnesses at the scene described her as appearing to be badly injured.

Santiago-Castro is being cited for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, speeding, failure to keep to right when view is obstructed and marked lanes violation.

A state police spokesman had no further information on the accident.

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