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Superior Court Briefs: July 23 - Aug. 2
Staff Reports On: 04:37PM / Friday August 03, 2012
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Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, July 23.

Nichole Belanger, 24, of Clarksburg pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

The case was continued without a a change of plea for one year on the condition that Belanger undergo substance abuse counseling, refrain from using illegal drugs and undergo random drug testing.

The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Lee on November 9, 2011. An additional count of drug violation within a school zone was dismissed by the state.

Eugene Jones
, 36, of Pittsfield had not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: distribution of cocaine.

He was released on $500 bail. Jones allegedly conspired with others to sell cocaine in Pittsfield between March 9 and April 20.

Amber Margraf, 25, of Chester pleaded guilty to four counts of larceny in a building, four counts of breaking and entering in the daytime and single counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime, malicious destruction of personal property, larceny of a controlled substance, larceny of a credit card, possession of burglarious tools, attempt to commit a crime, to wit: breaking and entering in the day time, receiving stolen property, possession of pepper spray without a firearm identification card, possession of a class E substance, and common and notorious thief.

She was sentenced to concurrent two to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Framingham on all charges expected the single counts of possession of a class E substance, possession of pepper spray and common and notorious thief. She was given concurrent sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the drug and pepper spray charges and three years probation on the common and notorious thief charge.

The charges stem from a series of house breaks in Dalton, Hinsdale, Lee and Pittsfield between January 22, 2011 and June 17, 2011 as well as a motor vehicle stop in Lee on March 12, 2012.

Four counts of larceny over $250 were dismissed by the state.

Lamar Powell, 34, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: possession of cocaine.

Powell was released on personal recognizance. He allegedly conspired with others to possess cocaine in Pittsfield on April 11.

Jacob Sweener, 22, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: distribution of cocaine. He was released on personal recognizance. Sweener allegedly conspired with others to sell cocaine in Pittsfield on March 4.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, July 24.

Marcus Scott,
36, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drugs laws.

He was sentenced to seven months at the Berkshire County House of Correction. The incident occurred in Pittsfield on February 28, 2008. Additional counts of distribution of cocaine and conspiracy to violate drug laws were dismissed by the state.

Dennis O'Neil, 45, of North Adams pleaded guilty to a single count of distribution of methadone.

He was given a six month suspended sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction and one year probation. The incident occurred in North Adams on November 6, 2010. An additional count of conspiracy to violate drug laws was dismissed by the state.

Timothy Lewis, 35, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of drug violation in a school zone, two counts of distribution of cocaine - his second offense - and single counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - his second offense.

He was sentenced to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 cash or $100,000 surety bail. The incidents allegedly occurred in Pittsfield between November 17, 2011 and June 15, 2012.

James Kerr, 23, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of intimidation of a witness.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. Kerr allegedly intimidated two witnesses in a pending criminal matter in Pittsfield between May 18 and May 25.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, July 25.

Gerald Field, 44, of Monterey had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of intimidation of a witness. He was released on personal recognizance because he is currently serving time on other charges.

Field allegedly intimidated two witnesses in a pending criminal matter in Great Barrington between August 15, 2011 and January 10, 2012.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, July 30.


Jeremy Stanton, 26, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to three counts of illegal possession of a firearm, three counts of possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, three counts of improper storage of firearms, three counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and single counts of trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in oxycodone, trafficking in methamphetamine/ecstasy, conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: trafficking in oxycodone, conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: trafficking in methamphetamine/ecstasy

Stanton was sentenced to concurrent five to eight years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the trafficking, conspiracy and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony charges. He was given concurrent time at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other charges.

The charges stem from the execution of six search warrants in Pittsfield on February 23, 2011.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, Aug. 2.

Cheyenne Allessio, 19, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on two counts of drug violation in a school zone and single counts of distribution of cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

She was released on personal recognizance. The incidents allegedly occurred in Pittsfield between November 17, 2011 and June 15, 2012.


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Clarksburg Crash Takes Fatal Turn
Staff Reports On: 05:51PM / Thursday August 02, 2012
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CLARKSBURG, Mass. — A local woman airlifted to Albany, N.Y., Medical Center after a two-vehicle accident Thursday morning died of her injuries that night.

Nancy Carpenter, 61, of North Adams was a longtime educator in the North Adams Public School System.

Police said Carpenter appeared to be making right from North Eagle into the eastbound lane of West Cross Road at 11:40 a.m. on Thursday when she collided with a westbound pickup truck operated by Jennifer Lefevre of Stamford, Vt.

Both Clarksburg and North Adams fire departments responded to the scene and North Adams firefighters used the Jaws of Life to remove Carpenter from her vehicle.

Carpenter was Life-Flighted to Albany and Lefevre was taken to North Adams Regional Hospital where she was treated and released. A number of ambulances responded to the scene, including North Adams Ambulance.

Police Chief Michael Williams said the state police accident reconstruction was called to the scene. "Because of the extent of the accident, we determined to cover all the bases," he said.

Police say it appeared that Carpenter did not stop at the stop sign at the top of North Eagle but it was unclear how her car swung into the truck's path. According to the passenger in Carpenter's car, they were on their way to Stamford. The passenger was also treated and released from NARH.

Reports of a third car involved were incorrect. Williams said a car was stopped at the stop sign at the bottom of West Road, across from North Eagle Street. Both Carpenter's car and the pickup ended up in front of it, which may have been why the initial report was for three vehicles.

The accident remains under investigation.

Updated on Aug. 5, 2012, rewrite of lede, headline to reflect fatality.



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Two Pittsfield Men Found Not Guilty For 2010 Brawl Involvement
Staff Reports On: 02:29PM / Monday July 30, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two men were found not guilty by a jury Monday for multiple charges stemming for a massive July 4, 2010 brawl on Cloverdale Street.

John Tart,35, and Stephen Abriel, 27, faced a two day trial in Berkshire Superior Court and after seven hours of deliberation, both were found not guilty.

Abriel was facing four counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, three counts of assault and battery and single counts of intimidation of a witness and possession of a stun gun. Tart faced a single count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.

Tart's brother, Jesse Tart, pleaded guilty last week to two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon and single counts discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, intimidation of a witness or other person, unlawful possession of fireworks, improper storage a non-large capacity rifle, shotgun or firearm, ownership, possession or transfer of a firearm without a firearm identification card, possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana. The pleas were a plea deal that dismissed or reduced other charges.

John Tart was accused of using a sledgehammer to assault others during the brawl and Abriel accused of using a stun gun. However, there was lack of evidence and eyewitnesses linking the two to the weapons.


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Pittsfield Fire Destroys Home, Kills Two Pets
Staff Reports On: 06:34PM / Friday July 27, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A fire at 11 Swan St. has left a young family homeless and killed two pets.

No one was home at the time the fire broke out Friday afternoon. Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said the flames were shooting out of the front and back of the house when firefighters arrived at about 3 p.m. The property is at the end of a short lane off Ridge Avenue near Pontoosuc Lake.

Both the first and second floor of the single-family were destroyed and the famiy's belongings were considered a complete loss. Shane and Shannon Doolan and their infant daughter had moved into the 30-year-old rental property about three weeks ago.

Two dogs died in the fire but a third was able to flee the burning building and was taken in by a neighbor.

The cause of the fire has not been established but was believed to have started in the kitchen. The state fire marshal was on his way to the scene late Friday.

The owners of the home are listed as John and Susan Michalski of Easthampton.

Lenox, Lanesborough and Dalton fire departments assisted on standby and County Ambulance responded to the scene.


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North Adams Swears In New Officers, Firefighters
Staff Reports On: 10:51PM / Tuesday July 24, 2012
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New Police Officer Joshua Zustra gets a hug from his grandmother, City Councilor Marie Harpin; left, reserve firefighter Tyler Bolte after the ceremony. Below, Bolte, center, takes the oath with Casey Cooke, left, and Brad Sacco.
Clockwise from above left: Officer Brad Vivori is sworn in; Officer Trevor Manning is pinned by the mayor; Zustra; and reserve Police Officers Jonathan Beaudreau, left, and Nicholas Richards.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council chambers were packed on Tuesday night with family and friends eager to see the city's newest police officers and firefighters sworn in.

Officers Brad Vivori, Trevor Manning and Joshua Zustra were sworn in separately as permanent police officers after serving in a reserve capacity. They were officially sworn in by the mayor on July 11 but it has become the administration's policy to have new officers take the oath publicly from City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau on community television.

Zustra received not only a handshake from the mayor and a hug from Gomeau, a former neighbor, like his colleagues, but also hug from his proud grandmother, City Councilor Marie Harpin.

Also taking the oath were reserve Officers Jonathan Beaudreau and Nicholas Richards, and reserve firefighters Casey Cook, Brad Sacco and Tyler Bolte. Reserve firefighter Collin Boucher was not in attendance.

"I think this is a great community event and I'm glad we do this and I'm glad to see so many friends, family and supporters," said the mayor, quipping, "cops, people hate to see you coming, firefighters, people love to see you coming." But he, added, "we truly respect, we value what you do ... it's a lot of hard work, a lot of training, a lot of effort, a lot of risk.

 "My wish to you is to be happy at your job, but to be safe and stay so."


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