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Superior Court Briefs: March 8 - March 11

Andy McKeever

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, March 8.

Michael A. Lizotte, 47, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

Lizotte was sentenced to serve two and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop on January 4, 2011.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, March 9.

Lionel Spencer, 24, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to four counts of distribution of cocaine and two counts of drug violation within a school zone.

Spencer, also known as Spades, will serve two and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction after his charges of selling cocaine in Pittsfield on September 9, September 12, September 15 and September 16.

Douglas G Guinan, 52, of Lanesborough entered not guilty pleas for charges resulting in an October 23, 2010 car accident on South Street in Pittsfield that killed 25-year-old Michael Ashline and caused serious injured to a 22-year-old woman.

Guinan was charged with motor vehicle homicide while under the influence of alcohol and operating to endanger as well as operating under the influence of alcohol and operating to endanger causing serious bodily injury.

Guinan was released on personal recognizance on the condition that he not drive during the pendency of the case.

Karriem Martin, 33, of Valley Stream, N.Y. pled not guilty for single counts of trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

He was released on $15,000 cash or $150,000 surety bail.

The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on January 4, 2011.

Jay J. Solarz, 38, of Dalton pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana.

The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant of 140 Dalton Division Road on November 4, 2008. Solarz was ordered to serve one year at the Berkshire County House of Correction for the cocaine charge and the marijuana charge was placed on file.

Jerald H. Sullivan, 54, of Pittsfield pled not guilty to one count of rape.

Sullivan was charged with an alleged sexual assault on a 69-year-old woman in Pittsfield on January 21, 2011. He will be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $20,000 bail.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, March 10.

Fred Lee Holt Jr. pleaded guilty to four counts of rape and abuse of a child: no force.

Holt had sexual relations with a girl who is now 17 years-old between December 15, 2008 and April 15, 2009. He was sentenced to serve five to seven years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.

Jamel L. Robinson pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of ecstacy with intent to distribute, possession of Pilva and two counts of drug violation within a school zone.

Judge Agostini ordered that he serve concurrent 1 day sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the drug charges. He was given concurrent two year house of correction sentences, to be served on and after the first sentence, on the charges of drug violation in a school zone.

The charges originated from a motor vehicle accident on Main Street in Great Barrington on May 25, 2010.
 

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Friday, March 11.

Mark Hamilton, 25, of Otis pleaded guilty to single counts of breaking into a depository, conspiracy to wit: breaking into a depository, breaking and entering in the daytime with intent to commit a felony, conspiracy to wit: breaking and entering in the daytime with intent to commit a felony, larceny from a building and conspiracy to wit: larceny from a building.

Hamilton was placed on probation for one year on the condition that Hamilton refrain from using drugs and undergo testing and counseling. The charges stem from a break-in at Santo's Italian Restaurant in Otis on February 23, 2010.

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Superior Court Briefs: March 1 - March 3

Andy McKeever

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, March 1.

Sergio Santiago, 19, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of armed burglary, assault on an occupant, assault with intent to commit rape, armed assault with intent to murder, unarmed burglary, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and intimidation of a witness.

The charges stem from an attack on a 24-year-old woman inside her Taylor Street home in Pittsfield on July 12, 2009.
 
Santiago also pleaded guilty to single counts of receiving stolen property over $250 and receiving stolen property under $250 in connection to two house break-ins on June 20, 2009 and June 29, 2009.

Santiago was sentenced to serve 18 to 25 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction for armed burglary and assault on an occupant. He was sentenced to serve 18 to 20 years concurrently in state prison for assault with intent to commit rape, armed assault with intent to murder and unarmed burglary.

He was given an additional nine to 10 years in state prison for the assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon charge and correction sentences on the remaining charges.

Joseph Bigelow, 27, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of cocaine distribution, distribution of heroin and drug violation in a school zone.

Bigelow was given a two-year sentence at the house of corrections on the charges from drug sales on April 20, 2009 and June 4, 2009 in Pittsfield.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, March 2.

Arthur Sebastino, 48, of Adams pleaded guilty to three counts of violation of a restraining order.

Sebastino was ordered to serve 83 days in the Berkshire County House of Correction. The incidents occurred in Adams on June 7, 2009 and June 8, 2009.

Frederick McKinley, 25, of New York City pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of cocaine and one count of conspiracy to violate drug laws stemming from a March 6, 2010 sale in Stockbridge.

A charge of possession of heroin with intent to distribute was dismissed at the request of the state after chemical analysis found the substance was not heroin.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, March 3.

Michael Campbell, 33, of New York City pleaded guilty to one count of possession of oxycontin with intent to distribute and one count of conspiracy to violate drugs laws.

Campbell was ordered to serve four to six year sentences at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. The charges stem from an execution of a search warrant at the Willows Motel in Williamstown on April 2, 2010.

Jessica Ferris, 29, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Ferris was given six months suspended sentence to the Berkshire County House of Correction. Ferris was placed on one year probation with the condition that she refrain from using drugs and alcohol and undergo counseling and testing.

The charges stem from a search warrant at her home executed on July 5, 2010.

Charles Cable, 31, of North Adams pleaded guilty to three counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon in connection with an assault on December 5, 2009.

Cable was sentenced to the Berkshire County House of Correction for 18 months. Another charge of armed assault with intent to murder was dismissed at the request of the state.

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New Marlborough Man Pleads Guilty to Mom's Murder

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A New Marlborough man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to murdering his mother three years ago.

Rodney M. Ball, 38, was given a life sentence in the murder of 55-year-old Donna Agar, to be served at the Massachusetts Correctional Facility at Cedar Junction.

Appearing before Judge John A. Agostini on Tuesday afternoon, Ball pleaded guilty to single counts of murder in the second degree and illegal possession of a firearm, for which he was given a concurrent 2 1/2- to three-year prison sentence.

Ball, a lumber yard worker, had been held without bail at the Berkshire County House of Correction since first being arraigned on Agar's murder in March 2008.

Agar was found in a pool of blood at her home on Clayton Mill River Road in Southfield on the afternoon of March 16, 2008, after state police were contacted to do a wellness check after Ball drove her minivan to confront his estranged wife. Ball arrived at the scene while police were there and they found a rifle in the vehicle.

An autopsy found Agar had died from multiple stab wounds to the neck and chest and loss of blood. Ball, then living on Clark Way, told investigators his mother had killed herself.

The investigation was conducted by members of the New Marlborough and Sheffield police departments, state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office, troopers assigned to the Lee barracks and the Crime Scene Services Section of the state police.   

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Great Barrington Crashes Leave Two Dead

Staff Reports

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Police are investigating two serious motor vehicle crashes on Wednesday afternoon that left two dead.

According to police, the first accident occurred at 12:50 p.m. Janet E. Chase, 62, of Sheffield died on the scene when her BMW sedan veered into the northbound lane of Route 7, just north of the Sheffield/Great Barrington line, and crashed head-on with a Honda minivan in the northbound lane. The van was driven by Maureen L Boisvert, 50, of Needham. Boisvert was taken to Berkshire Medical Center with severe injuries.

While state and local police were investigating that accident, a vehicle backing out of Timberlyn Heights nursing home on Maple Avenue (Route 23) was struck by a westbound vehicle. Phillip Hoffman, 90, of Sandisfield died at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield overnight as a result of the crash. His wife, Ann, 88, is at Berkshire Medical Center with "life-threatening injuries" as of Thursday.

The other driver, Brian K. Deland, Jr., 34, of Ashley Falls, was treated and released from Fairview Hospital.

That accident occurred at 3:10 p.m. and is being investigated by state and local police. 

Also last night a Jeep Cherokee collided with a tractor-trailer near the New York state border on Route 20 in Hancock.The driver of the Jeep was taken to Berkshire Medical Center while the driver of the truck was unhurt. Route 20 was shut down for more than an hour.
 

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Structure Fire in Becket

Staff Reports

BECKET, Mass. — Firefighters are responding to a fully involved structure fire on Minstrels Way in Sherwood Forest. The report of a fire came in at about 3:30 p.m.

Smoke is pouring from the building and the Fire Department is calling for more equipment and manpower.

A tanker and engine have been requested from Otis Fire Department and Hinsdale is standing by in the station. An ambulance has also been called to the scene and an incident command team activated. Chester has also sent men and equipment.

Complicating matters are reports of a 600-pound propane tank at the back of the building.

Reports are from FireGround360.

The scene was cleared at 11 p.m., according to reports.

If anyone has more information on the fire, please post below.

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