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Superior Court Briefs: May 23 - May 25

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, May 23.
 
Timothy Lewis, 39, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, drug violation in a school zone, breaking and entering in the daytime, intimidation of a witness, assault and battery on a pregnant woman, and resisting arrest.
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent two to three years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the possession of cocaine, breaking and entering, intimidation of a witness, and assault and battery charges. He was given two and a half to three years on the school zone charge. He was given concurrent time at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the resisting arrest charge. In total he'll serve four and a half to six years. 
 
The charges stem from a domestic dispute in Pittsfield on May 4, 2015. A single count of trafficking in cocaine was dismissed by the state.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, May 25.
 
Michael Martin, 34, of West Hartford, Conn. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense - trafficking in cocaine, and drug violation in a school zone.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $15,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at Lincoln Street in Pittsfield on March 25, 2016.
 
Albert Kolodziej, 21, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of rape, two counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, two counts of strangulation, and single counts of attempt to commit murder, intimidation of a witness, assault and battery, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, reckless endangerment of a motor vehicle, and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 bail. Kolodiej is accused of assaulting a 25-year-old woman in Pittsfield on April 3, 2016 and was involved in a motor vehicle crash the same day.
 
Lance Joppich, 44, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of rape, two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age 14, and assault with intent to commit rape.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. Joppich is accused of assaulting an 18-year-old girl in North Adams between March 1, 2016 and April 19, 2016.
 
Matthew King, 34, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of heroin.
 
He was ordered to pay a $250 fine. The charge stems from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on October 9, 2015.
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Pittsfield Pair Charged With Drug, Gun Crimes On Circular Avenue

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police arrested a juvenile and a 24-year-old man during the investigation of shots being fired in a home on Circular Avenue.
 
Police say Jerrel Hall and the juvenile were arrested on outstanding warrants Monday at about 11 a.m. at a home on Circular Avenue. Police were on scene continuing an investigation of Sunday's shooting and Det. Kim Bertelli-Hund observed several men in the area believed to have active arrest warrants. Two men then fled into a home. 
 
Consent was given to search the home where both were found and arrested on those outstanding warrants. 
 
Additionally, the pair are being charged with possession of a Class A substance - heroin - with intent to distribute, improper storage of a firearm, possession of a firearm without a license, possession of ammunition without a license, and possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number during the commission of a felony. Hall is also being charged with possession of a firearm with a prior violent or drug offense
 
Hall will be arraigned on Tuesday morning in Central Berkshire District Court and the juvenile will be arraigned on Wednesday in Central Berkshire Juvenile Court.
 
The shooting incident on Circular Avenue remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact the detective bureau at 448-9705.
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Superior Court Briefs: May 16 - May 17

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, May 16.
 
Sharareh Cordero, 26, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of phencyclidine, and reckless endangerment of a child.
 
She was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at her home on March 22, 2016.
 
Rashard Garnett, 27, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws, and drug violation in a park zone.
 
He was released on $5,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on March 22, 2016.
 
Kelly O'Laughlin, 37, of Cheshire pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving stolen property over $250, and a single county of breaking and entering in the daytime.
 
She was ordered to serve one years of a two and a half year-sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction and was placed on two-years probation. She will begin serving the sentence on June 7.
 
O'Laughin took approximately $80,000 from a home in Dalton on September 4, 2013. A single count of larceny in a building was dismissed by the state.
 
Gina Russo, 22, of Adams pleaded guilty to four counts of distribution of heroin, four counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: distribution of cocaine, three counts of distribution of cocaine, and three counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: distribution of heroin. 
 
She was placed on three-years probation. The incidents occurred in Pittsfield between May 7, 2015 and May 21, 2015.
 
Heather Shurtleff, 39, of Adams was sentenced to two and a half years at the Berkshire County House of Correction on a single count of reckless endangerment of a child.
 
Shurtleff was found guilty of the crime by a jury on May 11. The charges stemmed from an incident in Adams involving a girl who is now 18 years old between February 6, 2011 and November 16, 2013.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, May 17.
 
Timothy Herring, 34, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense - and possession of cocaine.
 
He was released on $5,000 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Lanesborough on March 19, 2016.
 
Davon Fitts, 34, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense - possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - his second offense - and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.
 
He was released on $10,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on March 17, 2016.
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Pittsfield Friendly's Closed Until Further Notice After Fire

Staff Reports

 Sign on the door tells patrons that the restaurant is closed.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Friendly's on Dalton Avenue is closed until further notice after a fire Friday morning.
 
Deputy Fire Chief Steven Peaslee reported that at about 7:13 a.m. Friday morning grease underneath a griddle had caught fire.
 
Three engines, a ladder truck, and a command vehicle responded to the blaze.
 
The damage is "estimated at $40,000" and the restaurant is expected to "return to full operations," Peaslee wrote in a report. No injuries were reported.
 
At noon on Friday, the doors were propped open and workers were on site. But, a sign hung on every door that read "closed until further notice." 
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Pittsfield Police Investigating Series Of Shootings

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Sections of Wahconah Street and Peck's Road were shut down for more than an hour Thursday afternoon in response to reports of gunfire.
 
Police arrested 34-year-old Patrick Coyne "after a brief pursuit" and charged him with carrying a firearm without a license, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, and being armed career criminal. He is being held at the Pittsfield Police Department pending arraignment on Friday in Central Berkshire District Court. Police say additional charges may be forthcoming. 
 
There were no injuries in Thursday's incident.
 
"Evidence of the shooting was located on Peck's Road and in a nearby back yard. The scene was processed by members of the Pittsfield Police Crime Scene Service Unit," police wrote in a statement.
 
According to reports on the scanner, police were looking for a man who was shooting a gun in the Wahconah Street area. The man was reportedly walking on Peck's Road. Police soon had Coyne in custody and found a gun in a nearby location, according to scanner reports. 
 
State police, the Berkshire County sheriff's office and Pittsfield Police shut down Wahconah Street from the ball park to Alcove Street and Peck's Roads from the intersection with Wahconah to just past the fire station shortly before 2 p.m. on Thursday. The roads were reopened shortly after 3 p.m.

The Pittsfield School Department delayed the dismissal of walking students from Reid Middle School to avoid interfering with the evidence search at the intersection of Wahconah, Peck's and Pontoosuc Avenue. 

The shooting is just the latest in a seeming uptick in gun activity.
 
On Wednesday just before 9 p.m., police received a report of shots fired in the area of Second Street and Pond Street. There an adult man was found suffering from a single gunshot wound. The injuries were reported as "non-life threatening." 
 
An hour and a half later, there was another report of shots being fired on Dartmouth Street. No injuries were reported but a vehicle was found to have been damaged by a bullet. 
 
On Saturday, a gunman was arrested near Berkshire Medical Center after a shooting on Hull Avenue, which put the hospital on lockdown.
 
Police Chief Michael Wynn said on Thursday that it is too early to tell if the three reports of shots fired on Wednesday night and Thursday morning are related. The BMC incident appears to have been unrelated, the chief said.
 
"Based on the information available to us at this time, the other three incidents all appear to have been targeted, not random. As I stated at the community meeting, any violent crime is concerning, but these incidents are not directed at the public in general. Unfortunately, there is a risk of someone being in the area of one of these incidents and being inadvertently injured," Wynn wrote in an email on Thursday.
 
A little over two weeks ago, a 17-year-old man was shot on Bartlett Avenue, which triggered a community meeting held by the Wards 4 and 5 city councilors. There Wynn said the shootings were among known gang members and he, as well as other officers, asked the public to "see something, say something." He expanded on that Thursday by saying that in addition to reporting suspicious activity, families and peers of individuals heading down a violent path can help police intervene.
 
"I just attended an FBI briefing in which the agent stated that peers and family members are the most likely to see things or hear statements that indicate that an individual is on a trajectory toward violence. The most important thing that the community can do is let us know if they have any indication that someone has the intention or the means to engage in this type of activity. We would prefer to intervene before they carry out a violent act," Wynn said.
 
As for the current cases, Wynn wrote that police are "devoting every available resource to working these cases." 
 
"We have authorized shift commanders to redeploy their resources based on reported activity and to request additional resources to their shifts as they see fit. Our investigative units are also aggressively working these cases," Wynn wrote.
 
Mayor Linda Tyer issued a statement on Facebook regarding the incidents, promising that the city is using "every available resource" to get control of the violence.
 
"This is hard. Really hard. I know how upsetting the ongoing gang and gun violence is to all of you. I'm distressed, too. Please be assured that every available resource is being deployed and a great deal of advance planning is constantly taking place to proactively engage in these very serious circumstances," she wrote. 
 
"I understand that you'd like to have the details about police strategy. Unfortunately, when we release that kind of information to the public it also becomes available to those we pursue. I'm determined to get this under control and I need your help. See something, know something, say something. And I'll say this, too, even before I became mayor I had a great deal of respect for our police department. Since taking office my respect and admiration for their diligence, strategy, and commitment to keeping us safe has grown immensely. Without their persistence our situation would be much worse. Let's be on their side."
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