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Superior Court Briefs: February 24 - February 28
Staff Reports On: 12:44PM / Friday February 28, 2014
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Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, February 24.

Daniel Seddon, 34, of Adams pleaded guilty to single counts of distribution of methadone and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

The case was continued without a finding for one year. The incidents occurred in Adams between November 1, 2010 and November 25, 2010.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, February 25.

Shaun Dufur, 26, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on four counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, four counts of larceny of a firearm, four counts of larceny in a building, two counts of receiving stolen property under $250 and a single count of receiving stolen property over $250.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $22,000 bail. Dufur allegedly broke into homes in Lanesborough and Pittsfield between August 31, 2013 and October 11, 2013.

Robert Ryan, 32, of Springfield pleaded guilty to single counts of trafficking in oxycodone, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, illegal possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, receiving stolen property over $250 and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended licenses.

He was ordered to serve three to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the trafficking in oxycodone and receiving stolen property charges. He was given concurrent time at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the firearm and marijuana charges. He placed on probation on the other charges.
 
The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on January 7, 2014.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, February 26.

Brandon Green, 21, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $7,500 cash or $75,000 surety. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 222 Springside Avenue in Pittsfield on January 29, 2014.

Green also pleaded guilty to a single count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. That charge was in connection with an incident in North Adams on June 15, 2013 and involved a 41-year-old man. He was placed on one year probation on that charge.

William Lowe, 34, of Pawtucket, R.I. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence of alcohol and operating to endanger, possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, speeding and failure to stay within marked lanes.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 cash or $250,000 surety bail. The charges stem from a two-vehicle crash in Williamstown on November 24, 2013 which killed Lawrence George of Pownal, Vt.

Joseph Manning, 48, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of unarmed robbery.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $15,000 cash bail. The charge stems from an incident in Pittsfield on January 6, 2014.

Nicholas McNeil, 34, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on four counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the daytime, two counts of unarmed robbery on a victim 60 years of age or older and single counts of larceny from a building, receiving stolen property over $250 and possession of Percocet.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 cash. The charges stem from a series of break ins in Pittsfield between November 15, 2013 and December 20, 2013.

Ernest Harvin, 38, of Bronx N.Y. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of a sawed-off shotgun, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $50,000 cash or surety bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Williamstown on September 5, 2013 and the execution of a search warrant in Hancock on September 9, 2013.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, February 27.

Jameail Beckett, 30, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 cash bail. The charges stem from an incident in Pittsfield on January 19, 2014 and involved a 27-year-old woman.

Eric Cohen, 55, of New Marlborough had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on four counts of rape and abuse of a child, two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained the age of 14 and a single count of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $2,500 cash bail. Cohen allegedly assaulted a 15-year-old girl in New Marlborough between September 1, 2012 and January 12, 2014.

Miguel Olavarria, 41, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to the counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime and two counts of larceny from a building

He was ordered to serve concurrent two and a half to four years at the Massachusettts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. The charges stem from break ins at Lucia Latin Kitchen and Berkshire International Market in Pittsfield between August 28, 2013 and September 3, 2013.

Two counts of vandalize property were dismissed by the state.

Nathaniel Reilly, 31, of Lee had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of distribution of heroin and a single count of possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 cash bail. Reilly allegedly sold heroin on January 21, 2014 and January 23, 2014 and was in possession of the drug with intent to sell when he was arrested on January 23, 2014.

Misael Saez, 45, of North Adams pleaded guilty to a single count of assault and battery causing serious bodily injury.

He was ordered to serve four to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. Saez, who was serving a sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction, attacked another inmate on April 10, 2013.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Friday, February 28.

Andre Austin, 27, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - his second offense - possession of marijuana with intent to distribute - his second offense - conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, illegal ownership of a firearm, illegal possession of a loaded firearm, improper storage of a firearm, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, possession of a firearm with a prior conviction for a violent crime or drug offense and resisting arrest.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 222 Springside Avenue in Pittsfield on January 29, 2014.

Justin Daley, 25, of Lee had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of distribution of cocaine, two counts of drug violation within a school zone and a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $2,500 cash or $25,000 surety bail. Daley allegedly sold cocaine on January 14, 2014, January 15, 2014 and January 22, 2014. He was allegedly in possession of cocaine with intent to sell it when he was arrested on January 23, 2014.

Shaun Dufur, 26, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to four counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, four counts of larceny of a firearm, four counts of larceny in a building, two counts of receiving stolen property under $250 and a single count of receiving stolen property over $250.

He was sentenced to serve concurrent two to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. Durfur broke into homes in Lanesborough and Pittsfield between August 31, 2013 and October 11, 2013.

Justin James, 40, of Boston had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on 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 $5,000 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on January 21, 2014.



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Pittsfield Firefighters Fight 3-Alarm Blaze on Wahconah St.
By Andy McKeever On: 10:53PM / Tuesday February 25, 2014
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The fire reportedly started in the kitchen and spread to the attic.

Updated on Feb. 26: The fire was under control but firefighters were still extinguishing hotspots shortly before 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Deputy Chief Mark Cancilla said five engines and one ladder were dispatched to the scene. A second ladder was responded with off-duty personnel and a ladder truck from Lenox was in the city.

There were no civilian injuries but one firefighter was taken to Berkshire Medical Center with a minor hand injury.

The building incurred heavy fire damage to the second-floor and attic, and water and smoke damage in the lower floors.

It was unclear how many people were left homeless by the blaze, which is still undetermined at this time.


PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters were battling a three-alarm blaze at an apartment house on Wahconah Street on Tuesday night.

The fire was called in at around 9 p.m. as a kitchen fire that was spreading to the attic at 150 Wahconah St.

"On arrival, the guys had a lot of smoke coming out of the attic eaves so they started setting up defensive operations," Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said at scene. "Unfortunately, they couldn't get their ladders too close to the building because of power lines in the way."   

Western Massachusetts Electric Co. had to be called to cut the power before the fire trucks could be positioned to attack the roof of the two-story residence.

Their response was further inhibited by an old metal room that was under the newer asphalt; they couldn't cut through the attic because of the metal.

"The fire appeared to be spreading through the two roof lines," Czerwinski said. "That's why it looks so bad right now."

At 10:30 p.m. he said crews were "busy chasing the fire through the attic area" and, once it settles down, firefighters would try to attack from the interior.

There is believed to be four units in the building but it was not clear how many people lived in the residence or which units were occupied. Czerwinski said it was assumed someone was in the building when the fire started because it was reported as a kitchen fire.

No one was reported injured but Wahconah Street is closed from the ballpark to the BP station. The fire chief expected the street to be closed most if not all night.

All on-duty crews were at the scene and other firefighters were called in. Mutual aid departments were covering the city, Czerwinski believe Lenox and Dalton, and Hinsdale's rehab unit was requested so firefighters could warm up in the frigid temperatures.

The Red Cross reported at least four people were affected by the fire, two adults and two children.



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Pittsfield Police Mourn Loss of K-9 Nero
Pittsfield Police Department On: 10:44AM / Monday February 24, 2014
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Nero served with the Pittsfield Police Department since 2006.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It is with deep sadness and regret that the Pittsfield Police Department announces the passing of K-9 Nero.

Nero died on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, after a long illness. He had worked alongside his handler, Officer James Parise, since 2006.

In his nearly eight years with the department, Nero responded to 419 K-9 calls in Pittsfield, throughout Berkshire County and elsewhere in Western Massachusetts. During that time, he was responsible for the apprehension of numerous dangerous felons and the seizure of more than 40 pounds of illegal drugs.

In 2009, K-9 Nero received the department's Life Saving Commendation for his actions in locating a woman who had wandered away from a homeless shelter in freezing temperatures and not dressed for the weather. Nero located the missing woman trying tokeep warm under a pile of leaves. In 2012, Nero tracked an elderly man who had wandered from his home in freezing cold temperatures. After a two-mile track, Nero located the man in a barn, where he was seeking shelter and trying to stay warm.

In addition to his enforcement and operations duties, K-9 Nero participated in hundreds of K-9 demonstrations for schoolchildren throughout Berkshire County. Nero was requested on a regular basis by the elementary schools in Pittsfield, where he and Officer Parise would teach young children about police work, the K9 program, and most importantly, how to be act around dogs in order to avoid being accidently bitten.

K-9 Nero was a valued and productive member of the Pittsfield Police Department and will be missed greatly.



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Superior Court Briefs: February 20
Staff Reports On: 11:03AM / Friday February 21, 2014
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Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, February 20.

Bruce Lee Trudeau, 37, of North Adams pleaded guilty to four counts of larceny under $250, three counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the daytime, three counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime, two counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, and single counts of larceny of drugs, larceny under $250 from a person 60 years of age or older and malicious destruction of property.

He was ordered to serve concurrent two to three years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the charges of breaking and entering, larceny of a drug and malicious destruction of property. He was given concurrent time at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other charges.

The incidents occurred in Williamstown, North Adams and Pittsfield between June 14, 2013 and September 19, 2013.

Matthew Rodriguez, 19, of North Adams pleaded guilty to six counts of larceny of a motor vehicle, three counts of wanton destruction of property, three counts of larceny under $250, two counts of larceny of a credit card, two counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the nighttime and a single counts of receiving stolen property over $250.

He was ordered to serve concurrent two to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the larceny of a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property and breaking and entering a motor vehicle charges. He was give concurrent time at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the others.

Single counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle with intent to commit a felony, larceny over $250 and common and notorious thief were dismissed by the state. The charges stem from a series of incidents in North Adams, Adams, Cheshire and Florida between April 5, 2013 and April 15, 2013.



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Williamstown Couple Arraigned on Larceny Charges
Staff Reports On: 02:27PM / Thursday February 20, 2014
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two former employees of Village Ambulance in Williamstown were arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court on larceny charges.

The married couple, Albert H. Miller, 59, and Cara J. Miller, 58, had not guilty-pleas entered on their behalf before Judge John Agostini, who released both on personal recognize.

The Millers are accused of stealing some $240,000 from the nonprofit ambulance service over a period of five years, until their dismissal in December 2011. Albert Miller was the general manager.

Albert Miller is charged with one count of larceny, ongoing and continuing offense and Cara Miller also with one count of larceny, ongoing and continuing offense, and one count of embezzlement.

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



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News Headlines
Mount Greylock's Enrollment Projection Debated in Subcommittee
Clarksburg Mulls Options on House Taken for Taxes
'Transcendence': Can't Get Over Itself
North Adams Cemetery Commission Resurrected
Pittsfield Considering Lighting Up North Side of Tyler Street
Hoosac Valley Graduate Rumbolt Remembered
North Adams Hospital Emergency Room to Reopen in May
State Provides $200K To Fix Pittsfield Roads
Williamstown Housing Committee Names Interim Chair
Williamstown Medical Entities Easing Residents' Anxiety
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