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Two Students Arrested at Different Schools with Loaded Weapons
Staff Reports On: 03:13PM / Thursday October 30, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A high school student and a college student were found with loaded weapons this week after each created a disturbance at their respective campuses.

On Tuesday night, a Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts student was arrested at the North Adams campus after becoming belligerent during an evening class. Chris LaFrance, 25, was allegedly intoxicated when campus police pepper sprayed him; upon arresting him, police said they found a loaded handgun on his person. While reportedly licensed to carry a firearm, LaFrance is facing a number of charges related to the incident and the public school where he had been training was apprised of his arrest and terminated his participation.

Pittsfield school officials say a Taconic High School student was arrested Thursday morning for creating a disturbance and a loaded gun was found on his person.

At no point was the weapon made visible to any student or staff member at Taconic, according to officials.

The Taconic administration said it is working with the Pittsfield Police Department to further investigate the matter.  

"Principal Vosburgh and his staff followed Pittsfield Public School safety protocol to the letter. School administration and Pittsfield Police effectively took all appropriate measures to efficiently address the situation and safeguard the school community," said Mayor Daniel Bianchi in a statement. "I am confident in Dr. McCandless' leadership and the professionalism of school staff as we continue to collaborate with community partners."

McCandless, Pittsfield Public Schools superintendent, said safety protocols are in place at all schools and are practiced regularly. The school community and parents will be kept informed, he said.

"The safety and concern of our students is the highest priority. All schools in the district have safety response protocols and procedures in place. Families are encouraged to partner with the school administration regarding any information that could be of assistance to help continue to maintain a safe and secure environment," according to a press release from City Hall.



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Local Man Sentenced to Life After Guilty Plea in North Adams Murder
Staff Reports On: 04:19PM / Tuesday October 28, 2014
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David Delratez at his arraignment last year after being apprehended in Bennington, Vt. Delratez was sentenced to life imprisonment on Tuesday.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — David A. Delratez has been sentenced to life imprisonment after pleading guilty to last year's murder of 84-year-old Ellen DePaoli in North Adams. 
 
Delratez, of North Adams, pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon to murder in the second degree and to several other charges. 
 
He was apprehended only days after the discovery of DePaoli's body in her Walker Street home on the evening of Sept. 17, 2013. 
 
Delratez, 42, who had known DePaoli for years, had initially claimed he had gone to visit her when one or more men had forced their way into her home, struck and killed her, and made him drive them away.
 
DePaoli was well-liked in the community and had been the cafeteria manager at Drury High School for many years. 
 
Delratez was found in possession of her stolen car in Bennington, Vt., and arrested on outstanding warrants by Bennington Police. He had pleaded not guilty in his initial appearances in court.  
 
On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to single counts of murder in the second degree and larceny of a motor vehicle in connection with DePaoli's murder. He also pleaded guilty to single counts of breaking and entering with intent to commit a misdemeanor and malicious destruction of property less than $250, related to an incident in Clarksburg on Sept. 13, 2013.
 
Judge John J. Agostini ordered that Delratez serve a life sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the murder charge. 
 
He was given a concurrent three to four-year state prison sentence on the larceny charge and concurrent House of Correction sentences on the other charges. 
 
However, he is eligible for parole after serving 15 years, according to the district attorney's office. 
 
The investigation was conducted by the North Adams Police Department, state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office, officers from the Pittsfield Police Department and deputies from the Berkshire County sheriff's department, and members of the Berkshire County Law Enforcement Task Force. 


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Williamstown Investigating Rash of Business Break-ins
Staff Reports On: 10:10PM / Monday October 27, 2014
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Police Department is investigating a series of break-ins at businesses on Water Street and Main Street that occurred late Friday or early Saturday morning.

Town Manager Peter Fohlin was asked about the crime spree at Monday's meeting of the Board of Selectmen.

"I didn't mention it [in the Town Manager's Report] because I don't usually comment on cases under investigation," Fohlin said in response to a question from Selectman Hugh Daley. "But what you said is true. Chief [Kyle] Johnson tells me they have a person of interest."

According to reports received by iBerkshires.com, businesses affected by the break-ins include U:A Fine Hair Studio, the American Legion, Redstone Properties and Hot Tomatoes on Water Street and Olympic Pizza on Main Street.

The perpetrators apparently broke windows or jimmied doors to get into several buildings. One of the building owners believed the target had been cash since electronics and other items had reportedly been left behind.



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Superior Court Briefs: Oct. 14 - Oct. 24
Staff Reports On: 02:22PM / Monday October 27, 2014
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Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, October 14.
 
Charles Katz, 49, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to two counts of drug violation in a school zone and single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, distribution of heroin, conspiracy to violate drug laws and possession of lorazepam.
 
He was released on $10,000 cash or $100,000 surety bail pending sentencing on Nov. 25. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on Appleton Avenue in Pittsfield on February 27, 2014.
 
Kelly O'Laughlin, 35, of Cheshire had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on two counts of receiving stolen property over $250, and single counts of breaking and entering a building in the daytime, and larceny in a building.
 
She was released on personal recognizance. O'Laughlin allegedly took $80,000 from a Dalton home on September 4, 2013.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, October 16.
 
Marcel Teixeira-Ingram, 19, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of armed robbery.
 
He was released on $1,000 cash or $10,000 surety bail. The charges stem from an incident in Pittsfield on August 20, 2014 and involved an 18-year-old man.
 
Jason Gendron, 35, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to six counts of rape and abuse of a child aggravated by an age difference, and four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14.
 
He was ordered to be held on $100,000 cash or $1 million surety bail pending sentencing on October 28.
 
The incidents occurred in Pittsfield between August 25, 2011 and March 1, 2013. The three victims are girls now aged 6,8 and 15.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, October 20.
 
Heather Shurtleff, 37, of Adams had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of reckless endangerment of a child and intimidation of a witness.
 
She was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from an incident in Adams and involved a 14-year-old girl. The incident allegedly occurred between February 6, 2011 and May 20, 2014.
 
Daniel Chao, 38, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of fraudulent use of a medical marijuana registration card, cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of tetrahydrocannabinols with intent to distribute.
 
He was released on $2,500 bail. Chao allegedly fraudulently used a medical marijuana registration card to cultivate and possess marijuana and has oil with intent to distribute. The incident allegedly occurred in North Adams on October 9, 2013.
 
Jerry Campagna, 61, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on four counts of uttering a false prescription, three counts of possession oxycodone and a single count of possession of morphine.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Campagna allegedly used false prescriptions to procure the drugs between December 13, 2013 and January 23, 2014 in Lenox.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, October 21.
 
Nakiba Browne, 30, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of manufacturing heroin - his second offense.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $15,000 cash or $150,000 surety bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on September 19, 2014.
 
James Dominguez III, of Springfield, had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws, and single counts of trafficking in cocaine and possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $50,000 cash or $500,000 surety bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on Columbus Avenue in Pittsfield on September 25, 2014.
 
Robert Ester, 26, of Springfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and single counts of trafficking in cocaine and possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $50,000 cash or $500,000 surety bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on Columbus Avenue in Pittsfield on September 25, 2014.
 
Richard Holliman, 40, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and single counts of trafficking in cocaine and possession of morphine with intent to distribute - his second offense.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $100,000 cash or $1 million surety bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on October 1, 2014.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, October 22.
 
Amena Smith, 36, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and single counts of trafficking in cocaine and possession of morphine with intent to distribute - her second offense.
 
She was ordered to be held at the Hampden County House of Correction on $10,000 cash or $100,000 surety bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at her home on October 1, 2014.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Friday, October 24.
 
Anthony Johnson, 31, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on five counts of distribution of cocaine and single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $100,000 cash or surety bail. The incidents allegedly occurred in Pittsfield between June 29, 2011 and January 30, 2012.


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State Police Traffic Stop Turns Up Bags of Heroin
On: 12:55PM / Monday October 27, 2014
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State Police say the confiscated 83 bags of heroin as the result of a traffic stop on State Street in North Adams.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A North Adams woman is facing multiple drug charges after a routine police stop turned up 83 bags of heroin.

State Police arrested Cassandra McInnis, 26, at about 5:25 p.m. on Saturday.

Trooper Thomas Cusak of the Cheshire Barracks said he was on patrol on State Street when his attention was drawn to McInnis' 1999 Chevrolet sedan. As a result of a motor vehicle stop and subsequent investigation by Trooper Cusak, with the assistance of Trooper Zachary Wood, McGinnis was arrested and charged with the following:

1) Possession with Intent to Distribute Class A Narcotics (heroin)
2) Intent to distribute narcotics within a school/park zone
3) Being present where heroin is kept
4) Conspiracy to violate the narcotics law
5) Various motor vehicle violations

McInnis was scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.



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News Headlines
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These Mysterious Hills: Pittsfield's Downtown Awash in Ghostly Legends
Pittsfield Debates Control Over School Department Budget
Lenox Calling Special Town Meeting
Community Bids Farewell to MCLA's Grant & Canavan
Adams COA Loads Up 'Buckets of Sand' for Local Senior Citizens
BRPC Concludes Train Station Study, Encourages Towns To Stay Involved
2014 Bazaars & Craft Fairs
Berkshire County Arc Launches 2014 Annual Campaign
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Two Students Arrested at Different Schools with Loaded Weapons
Local Man Sentenced to Life After Guilty Plea in North Adams Murder
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Superior Court Briefs: Oct. 14 - Oct. 24
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Police Seeking Man Wanted for North Adams Assault
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