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Police Identify Body Found at Canoe Meadows

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The body of a woman found Wednesday, Feb. 23, in Canoe Meadows wildlife sanctuary has been identified as Beverly Tanner, 57.

Tanner, whose last known address was on North Street, had not been seen since early January. Police say she was not reported missing.

The body was reportedly found by a couple of snowshoers off Wolf Pine Trail in the 262-acre sanctuary. It was fully dressed, frozen and partially covered with snow. A backpack was next to it. The death is being investigated but Detective Capt. Patrick F. Barry told The Berkshire Eagle on last week that foul play was not suspected.

The preliminary ruling on the death is suicide, pending toxicology results, according to the district attorney's office.  An autopsy was performed on Friday in Boston by Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Henry Nields.

Anyone with information concerning Tanner's whereabouts or who may have had contact with her since early January is asked to contact the Pittsfield Police Department at 413-448-9700.

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Rollover Closes Mohawk Trail

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A small car flipped over on the Mohawk Trail just south of the intersections with Daniels and West Shaft roads closing the trail to traffic.

The driver, Danny Briggs, 29, of West Main Street, was out of the car before emergency vehicles arrived. The accident occurred at about 5:30 p.m. and shut down traffic over the trail for about an hour while the car was removed.

Three police vehicles and two firetrucks responded to the scene.

The car was eastbound when it hit the snowbank near the Chief Motel, careened into the westbound lane and flipped. It came to rest on its top about 100 feet from where it hit the bank.

The vehicle sustained heavy damage, including a smashed in rear window. Parts of were scattered on the road along with items from the car. The vehicle was towed by Mohawk Auto.

Briggs was charged with operating under the influence.

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Superior Court Briefs: Feb. 22-25

Staff Reports

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

Travis G. Bateman, 35, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of distribution of cocaine and manufacturing cocaine.

Agostini ordered that he serve concurrent 3 1/2- to five-year state prison sentences at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on both charges.      
 
The charges stem from the sale of cocaine in Pittsfield on April 20, 2009, and the execution of a search warrant at a home in Pittsfield on July 17, 2009.
 
The investigation was conducted by members of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force. 

Aaron Provencher, 36, of New Windsor Road, Hinsdale, had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of dissemination of visual material of a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct and 12 counts of knowingly possessing visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct.

He was released on personal recognizance. The incidents are alleged to have occurred in Hinsdale between November 10, 2009, and December 1, 2009.

The investigation was conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, Feb. 23

Adam Smith, 31, of Second Street, Pittsfield, had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf for single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute (second offense), manufacturing cocaine (second offense), possession of methadone with intent to distribute (second offense), possession of marijuana with intent to distribute (second offense), four counts of drug violations in a school zone and possession of ammunition without a firearm indentification card.

He was ordered held in the House of Correction on $100,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on December 31, 2010.

Gregory J. Mathews Jr., 23, of Second Street, Pittsfield, had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin, of methadone and of marijuana, each with intent to distribute; one count of manufacturing cocaine; four counts of drug violation within a school zone and single count of possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.

He was ordered held at the House of Correction with $2,500 bail.

The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on December 31, 2010, and the investigation was conducted by the Pittsfield Police Department.  

Christopher C. Mead, 28, and Elizabeth J. Mead, aka Elizabeth J. Rogers, 32, both of East Street, Pittsfield, both pleaded guilty to one count of possession of heroin.

Each was ordered to pay a $500 fine. The charge stems from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on July 26, 2010.

•  Jeffrey A. Williamson, 47, had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of distribution of cocaine and possession of cocaine, both second offenses.

He was ordered held at the House of Correction on $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety bail.

It is alleged that Williamson sold cocaine on December 6, 2010, and was in possession of cocaine with intent to sell the drug when he was arrested on December 7, 2010. The incidents are alleged to have occurred in Pittsfield.

 

All information provided by the district attorney's office.

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Convicted Ex-Priest Sentenced to 25 Years

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Gary Mercure, 62, was sentenced on Wednesday afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court to up to 25 years in prison for sexual assaults against two boys two decades ago.

Mercure, a former priest in Troy, N.Y., was found guilty Feb. 10 of three counts of rape of a child with force and a a single count of indecent assault and battery on a child under age 14.

The charges relate to assualts on two men, who are now ages 35 and 34, that occurred in Berkshire County. A Berkshire Superior Court jury deliberated for two hours before returning guilty verdicts.

Judge John A. Agostini ordered Mercure to serve concurrent 20-to-25-year sentences on the rape charges at the Massachusetts Correctional Facility at Cedar Junction. He was given a concurrent 3-to-5-year prison sentence on the assault and battery conviction.

 


By: Staff Reports On: 03:34PM / Thursday, February 10, 2011

Former New York Priest Guilty of Abuse

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A former Catholic priest was found guilty on Thursday morning in Berkshire Superior Court of sexual assault charges dating back more than 20 years.

The jury deliberated for two hours over two days before returning its verdict against Gary Mercure, 62, of Troy, N.Y.

Mercure was found guilty on two counts of rape of a child with force and one count of indecent assault and battery on a child under age 14 in connection with an incident involving a man who is now 35 years of age. The incidents occurred in Great Barrington or Monterey between Sept. 1, 1986, and Dec. 31, 1986.

He also waso found guilty of one count of rape of a child with force in connection with an incident involving a man who is now 34 years of age.

That incident occurred in New Ashford between Feb. 1, 1989, and Feb. 28, 1989.

The victims said the abuse began with they were altar boys in Mercure's church in Queensbury, N.Y. Both said they were taken to the Berkshires and assualted; one at a parking area off the Appalachian Trail and the other in the parking lot of the former Brodie Mountain Ski Area.

Mercure was suspended from his church in 2008 and later defrocked after allegations arose of abuse of altar boys in the 1980s. Two men came forward claiming the abuse had occurred on trips to Massachusetts and Vermont as well as in New York. The statute of limitations had lapsed in New York State for both criminal and civil suits, leading prosecutors to reach out to their Massachusetts counterparts.

Mercure's attorney, Michael O. Jennings, argued physical evidence and scientific evidence was lacking and that the allegations of assaults in the Berkshires were fabricated to allow proceedings in Massachusetts.

Jurors, however, believed Berkshire First Assistant District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello's description of a sexual predator who knew no state boundaries.
 
Judge John Agostini ordered that Mercure be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail pending sentencing which will occur on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m.  
 
The investigation was conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office.

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Pittsfield Teens Found After Four-Hour Search

Staff Reports

HANCOCK, Mass. — Emergency rescuers found two snowboarders lost in the Pittsfield State Forest after a four hour search.

According to police, Shaun Maynard and Anthony Shufelt, two Pittsfield residents in their late teens were snowboarding on the backside of the forest when they got lost.

The two used a cell phone to dial 911, which called into Rensselaer County Sheriff's Department, shortly after 6 p.m. The phone then lost service and the snowboarders attempted to hike back from where their starting point.

State police were coordinating the efforts by the environmental police, Hancock Fire and Rescue and the state Department of Recreation. The hikers were found at 10 p.m. by the environmental police. Neither were injured but both were taken to Berkshire Medical Center for evaluation.

Some 5 to 8 inches of snow had fallen over the region since Monday night and temperatures were plummeting as a cold front moved into the area along with high winds. Forecasters were predicting temperatures overnight to dip below zero with a wind-chill factor of 10 to 20 degrees below zero.

Searchers were reportedly using sirens in the area of Goodrich Hollow Road.

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