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Readsboro Man Charged With Animal Cruelty
Staff Reports On: 10:24PM / Tuesday March 13, 2012
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READSBORO, Vt. — A local man has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty for allegedly killing a cat and burning it to hide the fact from its owner.

Michael Choquette, 51,  of Route 100 was arrested and charged Tuesday by state police.

The cat's owner, Kelly Gancarz, 37, contacted police after Choquette, her landlord, allegedly called her on Monday night and admitted to killing the 4-year-old animal. Gancarz lives in an apartment above Choquette .

According to Gancarz, she heard her other cat, Dizzy, crying outside in distress late Sunday night. When she went outside, she saw Choquette standing at the outside wood boiler. She believed Dizzy was upset because it could hear the other cat.

The next day, she looked in the boiler and said she found the remains of the animal. State Trooper Robert Zink investigated the claim and confirmed the remains of a small cat were in the boiler.

According to police, Choquette admitted to killing the cat but claimed he threw a piece of fire wood at it just to scare it. "He stated that he put the cat in the wood boiler in order to not have to deal with backlash from Gancarz," the police report states.

He will appear in Vermont District Court in Bennington on Monday, March 19. Animal cruelty is a felony charge.


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Berkshire County Men Graduate From State Police Academy
On: 08:35PM / Friday March 09, 2012
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WORCESTOR< Mass.  — Two Berkshire County residents were among the first graduating state police class in five years.

Justin A. Kruszyna of Cheshire and Ryan E. Mauer of Pittsfield on Friday joined the ranks of the Massachusetts State Police with the 80th Recruit Training Troop. The 208 trainees were appointed to the rank of trooper at the DCU Center in Worcester.

Gov. Deval Patrick, Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan and state police Col. Marian McGovern welcomed the graduates and Patrick addressed them and administered the oath to the troopers.

"These graduates hold the honor of being the largest, most highly trained class the academy has ever produced, and the first in over five years," said Patrick. "I am pleased that we were able to secure the resources to make this happen for the state police class, which includes some of the bravest, strongest and smartest citizens from every corner of the commonwealth."

This is the largest graduating class in the history of the state police and the first since 2006. It includes former police officers, firefighters, attorneys, health-care professionals, military sergeants, business professionals and teachers. One hundred and three are veterans, 80 of whom served tours of duty in Afghanistan, Iraq or both.

Their traning began in mid-October and lasted 21 weeks. Curriculum included classroom study, physical training, defensive tactics and real-world law enforcement scenarios. These graduates participated in more than 75 scenario-based exercises during the course of their training along with traditional academic and physical training.

Early next week, the new troopers will begin a three-month break-in period during which they will be assigned to road patrols with a field training officer.

Because of attrition, the state is down approximately 500 troopers from its most recent high point in fall 2006. The new troopers will increase police presence on state highways and roads, as all of the trainees will begin their careers as road troopers.

"Your commandant, your training directors, your drill instructors, your firearms and fitness and defensive tactics instructors have all given you the tools you need to succeed," said McGovern. "That is, all the tools but one. The final piece, the quality upon which all the other skills and tools depend, is found inside each one of you."


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Superior Court Briefs: March 5 - March 9
Staff Reports On: 03:26PM / Friday March 09, 2012
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Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, March 5.

Michael Warren
, 24, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of distribution of cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and drug violation in a school zone.

Warren was released on $1,000 bail. He allegedly sold cocaine in Pittsfield on June 23, 2010 and was in possession of cocaine with the intent to sell in North Adams on August 2, 2011.

Jamel Nicholson, 23, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on a single count of distribution of cocaine.

Nicholson was released on personal recognizance. He allegedly sold cocaine in Pittsfield on November 30, 2011.

Mark Hunter, 51, of Springfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense - possession of heroin, possession of cocaine, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license - his second offense - and number plate violation.

He was released on $2,500 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Lee on Jan. 27.

Jie Whiteside, 42, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Whiteside was sentenced to 30 days of a one year sentence to the Berkshire County House of Correction and placed on one year probation. The charge was in connection to the execution of a search warrant at 816 North Street in Pittsfield on January 31, 2011.

Jody Perkins, 42, of Pittsfield had a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws continued without a finding for 90 days.

Perkins allegedly conspired with others to sell drugs between October 14, 2010 and October 21, 2010.

Richard Carnevale Sr., 53, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of oxycontin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

He was sentenced to serve one year of a two year sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction. He was also placed on one year probation.

Carnevale possessed oxycontin with intent to sell on March 3, 2010 and conspired with others to sell oxycontin between December 23, 2009 and March 5, 2010.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, March 6.

Clifton Stovall, 30, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

He was ordered to serve one year of a two and a half year sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction and was placed on two year probation.

The charge stemmed from the execution of a search warrant at his home on January 31, 2011.

David Laplante, 33, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws and ownership, possession or transfer of a firearm without a firearm identification card.

He was given a two year suspended sentence at the Berkshire County House of correction and placed on one year probation. Laplante was in possession of cocaine with intent to sell and in possession of an unregistered handgun when he was arrested on March 3, 2010. He also conspired with others to traffick in cocaine between December 22, 2009 and April 15, 2010.

Two counts of distribution of cocaine, two counts of drug violation in a school zone and single counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony were dismissed by the state.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, March 7.


Kevin White, 44, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of breaking and entering in the daytime and larceny over $250.

He was released on personal recognizance. White allegedly broke into a home in Hancock on September 7, 2011.

Christopher White
, 23, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on six counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, six counts of larceny from a building, two counts of malicious destruction of personal property, two counts of vandalize property and single counts of breaking and entering in the daytime placing a person in fear, illegal possession of a firearm, larceny of a firearm, larceny over $250 and common and notorious thief.

He was released on personal recognizance. He allegedly broke into houses in Hancock, Hinsdale, Richmond, Dalton and Washington between September 7, 2011 and Jan. 30.

Jeanette Brown
, 35, of Ballston Spa, N.Y. pleaded guilty to a single counts of mayhem.

Brown was sentenced to five to seven years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. She stabbed a 22-year-old woman in Pittsfield on June 7, 2011. Single counts of assault with intent to kill and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon were dismissed by the state.

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

George Wetherell, 26, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to three counts of dissemination of visual material of child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct and four counts to knowingly possessing visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct.

He was placed on two years probation. He possessed child pornography in Pittsfield on November 18, 2009.

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

Michael Lopez, 26, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to singe counts of armed assault with intent to rob, assault by means of a dangerous weapon, carrying a dangerous weapon and resisting arrest.

Lopez was sentenced to four to six years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the armed assault and assault by means of a dangerous weapon charges. He was given concurrent two and a half to three year state prison sentences on the carrying a dangerous weapon charge and concurrent two year sentenced to the Berkshire County House of Correction on the resisting arrest charge.

The charges were in connection with an attempted robbery of Convenience Plus on Linden Street on November 5, 2010.

Franklin Lamountain Jr., 33, of Pittsfield had a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws continued for three months.

Lamountain allegedly conspired with others to distribute oxycontin between December 22, 2009 and April 15, 2010.

Allen Cooper, 35, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and single counts of distribution of cocaine and distribution of heroin.

He was released on personal recognizance. Cooper allegedly sold heroin on July 13, 2011 and cocaine on August 3, 2011 and conspired with others to sell the drugs on the same date.


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Slocum Found Guilty of Murder and Arson
Staff Reports On: 03:58PM / Thursday March 08, 2012
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A New York man that led police on a multi-state man hunt that came through the county was found guilty of murder and arson on Thursday in Washington County Court in Fort Edward, N.Y..

According to reports from New York new organizations, Matthew Slocum, 24, was found guilty on three counts of second-degree murder, one count of third-degree arson and three other felonies.

Slocum shot and killed his mother, her husband and her husband's son before setting the Eagle Bridge home on fire on July 13, 2011. He then fled the scene, taking his girlfriend and their 4-month-old hostage.

Slocum's defense accused his girlfriend Loretta Colegrove of committing the crime. Colegrove has family living in North Adams and Adams and after the crime police swarmed Berkshire County looking for the 2003 black Ford Mustang he was driving. It was spotted that morning in Adams and police say they made a brief stop in the county to ask an acquaintance for money.

The three were later found in New Hampshire.

Slocum is expected to be sentenced on March 30.


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Former Drury High Student Admits to Facebook Threats
Staff Reports On: 12:08PM / Wednesday March 07, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A former Drury High School student admitted on Wednesday to making Facebook threats against his alma mater last November.

Zachary T. Barbeau, 19, of Commercial Street, Adams, pleaded guilty on Wednesday morning in Berkshire Superior Court to single counts of threatening the use of a deadly weapon and causing serious public alarm, threat to commit a crime (to wit: assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon) and disruption of a public assembly.

He was first arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court before his case was transferred to Superior Court.

Barbeau created a Facebook profile with a false identity and posted threats against the North Adams school and its students on Nov. 10, 2011. Police tracked the account to his address and he was arrested later that day.

School officials decided to hold classes, although existing rules on access and student behavior were strictly enforced.

Barbeau was released on personal recognizance by Judge John Agostini, pending sentencing on April 27 at 9 a.m.  

The investigation was conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office, state troopers assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and members of the North Adams and Adams police departments.

Updated at 1:47 p.m. because graduation & date not confirmed.



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News Headlines
Larabee, Giorgi Honored With 'Frankie' Awards
Former Finance Director Returns to Williamstown as Pastor
Armory Takes Lead in Torchia Softball League Final
Legislative Q&A: State Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli
MCLA Women's Soccer Ties; Tennis, Volleyball, Men's Soccer Win
Holiday Hours: Labor Day
Clarksburg Weighing Bridge Plans, Preparing Special Town Meeting
MCLA Men's Soccer Rolls in Opener
'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For': Graphic, Indeed
Register now for Ys Superhero 5K Challenge on Sept. 13
Crimewatch Links

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Emergency: 911
Adams 413-743-1212
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Lee 413-243-2100
Lenox 413-637-2346
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State Police  
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Shaftsbury, Vt., Barracks 802-442-3263

 



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