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Lewis Lent Confesses To Third Killing

Staff Reports

WESTFIELD, Mass. — One of the county's most notorious murderers confessed to killing a Westfield teenager and leaving the body in a pond in Becket.

Authorities announced on Monday that Lewis Lent Jr. confessed to the 1992 murder of James Lusher, according to multiple news reports.

The 12-year-old was last seen riding his bicycle toward his grandmother's home. There was an intensive search for Lusher, which came to no avail.

On Tuesday, more than 20 years later, authorities will launch a second search for Lucher in Greenwater Pond in Becket.

Lent, who lived in North Adams at the time, is already serving a life sentence for the 1990 murder of 12-year-old Jimmy Bernardo of Pittsfield and the later killing of Sara Ann Wood in Herkimer, N.Y. Lent pled guilty to kidnapping and murder in both of those cases so Lusher is Lent's third confirmed victim.

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Overland Tour Participant Dies from Crash Injuries

By Stephen Dravis
Williamstown Correspondent

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — An eastern Massachusetts woman has died as the result of injuries sustained in Arkansas during bicycle tour organized by Williamstown's Overland Summers.

On Friday, a message on Overland's website confirmed that Merritt Levitan of Milton had died. The company had previously announced it was suspending the tour in which Levitan was participating and making arrangements for the return of the participants.

"Yesterday morning we received confirmation that Merritt Levitan of Milton, Massachusetts, died as a result of injuries sustained in a terrible incident that occurred outside of McCrory, Arkansas, while participating in an Overland bicycle touring program," a note credited to Overland founder and director Tom Costley reads. "Liz and I, and the entire Overland community, are heartsick by this tragic loss. We extend our deepest condolences to Merritt’s family, friends and loved ones."

According to a report on the Associated Press, Levitan was 18.

On Thursday, the company announced its decision to call off the remainder of the American Challenge Two, which was to take a group of 13 bicyclists (including two leaders) from Charletson, S.C., to Los Angeles in six weeks.

On Tuesday, a vehicle hit some of the riders in Woodruff County, Ark., sending seven riders to the hospital.

When the decision was announced Thursday to cancel the remainder of the trip, four were still hospitalized, including one in critical condition.

"Tom and Liz [Costley] spent the evening with the remaining eight group members in Arkansas," read a separate blog entry on the Overland site on Thursday. "Counselors were also present. At this point, we continue to express our deepest concern for the injured individuals and their families and our gratitude for the incredible outpouring of support among the professionals, emergency personnel, law enforcement officers and communities of Arkansas and Tennessee."

Overland is accredited by the American Camp Association and licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. It overs hiking, biking, language and travel experiences worldwide.

From the Associated Press report:

"Prosecutors are considering filing charges against the 21-year-old driver who struck the cyclists, but prosecutor John Bell said no charges had been filed as of Thursday.

"Bell has said there wasn't any evidence of alcohol in the driver's bloodstream, but he said authorities were looking into whether anything else, such as a cellphone, was involved in the crash."

Levitan was a recent graduate of Milton Academy and planned to attend Colgate University in the fall.

"The best way to describe her is that she is the person everyone went to with any kind of problem," Abby Lebovitz, 17, a teammate of Levitans on the Milton girls tennis team, told the Boston Globe. "She was always there for anyone. It didn’t matter if she wasn’t your best friend; she was just there."

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Superior Court Briefs: July 1 - July 3

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, July 1. 
Malik Grandson, 20, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of home invasion and assault and battery.
He was released on $2,5000 bail. The incident allegedly occurred in Pittsfield on May 20.
John Dyer Sr., 38, of Springfield 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 - and failure to wear a seatbelt in connection with an incident in Cheshire on November 24, 2012.
He also had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute - his second offense - possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle and failure to wear a seatbelt in connection with a motor vehicle stop in Dalton on May 7, 2013.
He was released on $3,000 cash or $30,000 surety bail.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, July 2.
Brian Boudreau Jr., 29, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to armed robbery.
He was sentenced to three and a half to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. Boudreau held up a clerk at Berkshire Pipe and Tobacco in Pittsfield on May 19, 2013.
Jeremy Talarico, 29, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on  his behalf on a single count of assault and battery on a child with injury.
He was released on personal recognizance. Talarico allegedly injured a boy who is now two years old in Pittsfield between February 5, 2013 and February 6, 2013.
Tanya Hadsell, 19, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of assault and battery on a child with injury and assault and battery upon a child.
She was released on personal recognizance. Hadsell allegedly injured a boy who is now two years old in Pittsfield between February 5, 2013 and February 6, 2013.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, July 3.
Sadowell Hudson, 46, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - his second offense - and conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
He was sentenced to two years at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession of cocaine with intent to distribute charge and given two years on the conspiracy charge - a total of four years will be served. 
Hudson admitted that he conspired with others to distribute cocaine in Pittsfield. The incident occurred between September 1, 2012 and September 19, 2012. The possession of cocaine charge stems from the execution of a search warrant at a home on Columbus Avenue in Pittsfield on September 19, 2012.
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Police Identify Housatonic Drowning Victim

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The District Attorney's officer identified Christian Giovanni Marquez as the man who drowned in the Housatonic River on June 15.
The 18-year-old is from Los Angeles and was traveling across the country. Marquez was swimming near the Mill Street dam when he was sucked into a spill way and trapped against a grate at the bottom of the river. 
Firefighters spent more than 24 hours trying to recover the body. The body was then transferred to the office of the chief medical examiner.
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American Flags Stolen in Stamford

Staff Reports

STAMFORD, Mass. — An unpatriotic thief made off with nearly a dozen of the town's flags on the Fourth of July.

A resident untwisting some of the flags posted on utility poles along Main Road to make the display look better for the holiday found a number of them missing.

According to a report by state Trooper Lauren Ronan, it appeared that one or more persons had pulled down on the flags, causing them to break away from their metal brackets.

A total of nine American flags were stolen; one was recovered on the ground next to the roadway.

It is believed the flags were taken early in the morning on July 4. The state police are continuing to investigate this incident.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Shaftsbury barracks at 802-442-5421. Information can also be submitted anonymously online at www.vtips.info or text "CRIMES" (274637) to Keyword: VTIPS.

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