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Superior Court Briefs: March 20 - March 23
Staff Reports On: 03:04PM / Friday March 23, 2012
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Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, March 20.

Michael Taylor, 52, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to two counts of drug violation in a school zone and single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute.

He was released on $10,000 bail pending sentencing on March 17.

Three counts of distribution of cocaine - his second offense- and three counts of drug violation in a school zone were dismissed by the state.

The incidents occurred in Pittsfield on June 15, 2010.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, March 21.


Ariana Kulturides, 20, of Pittsfield had a single count of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon continued without a finding for a year.

Kulturides allegedly conspired with others to assault a 22-year-old man in Pittsfield on August 16, 2009. Two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon and a single count of armed assault with intent to murder were dismissed by the state.

Jason Daigneault, 25, of Cheshire pleaded guilty to single counts of armed assault with intent to rob, assault by means of a dangerous weapon and breaking glass in a building in connection with an attempted robbery of West Street Wine and Spirits on July 6, 2011.

He also pleaded guilty to single counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime, larceny from a building and breaking glass in a building in connection with a break in at Aaron's Sales and Lease on July 1, 2011.

Daigneault was sentenced to two years at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the assault by means of a dangerous weapon and an addition two years on the breaking and entering charge. He was given a concurrent six month sentence on the breaking glass in a building charges and placed on one year probation.

Brittany Johnson, 22, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, distribution of cocaine and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

She was released on $2,500 cash or $25,000 surety bail pending sentencing on March 28. The charges stem from incidents in Pittsfield between September 27, 2919 and May 4, 2011.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, March 22.

Nolan Gamari, 19, of Clarksburg had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on six counts of rape and abuse of a child and single counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and enticing a child under the age of 16.

Agostini set bail at $5,000 on condition that he does not have any contact with the victim or her family and that he close his Facebook account. The charges stem from a incident in Clarksburg on Feb. 12 and allegedly involved a 13-year-old girl.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Friday, March 23.


Sean Begley, 33, of Pittsfield was sentenced to serve three to four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on possession of a possession of heroin with intent to distribute charge and places on five years probation on other charges.

On March 14, Begley pleaded guilty to six counts of possession of ammunition without a firearm, three counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, three counts of improper storage of a firearm, three counts of illegal ownership of a firearm, and single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine - his second offense - and possession of anabolic steroids.

The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on July 1, 2011.


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Three Men Plead Not Guilty For Crime Spree And Arson
Staff Reports On: 04:37PM / Thursday March 22, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Three men accused of an array of crimes including setting fire to a Dalton Avenue business all pleaded not guilty in Superior Court.

Steven Gratton, 24, Jason Welsh, 21, and James Ledbetter, 26, all of Pittsfield all had not guilty pleas entered on their behalf on many charges.

According to police, the three men went on a crime spree on Feb. 24 that involved stealing four cars, breaking into seven vehicles and setting fire to Castine Moving and Storage and attempting to burn Jay's Modern Bends and Muffler on Dalton Avenue.

Gratton pleaded not guilty on Thursday to with 14 counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the night time, four counts of malicious destruction of personal property, three counts of larceny of a motor vehicle, two counts of breaking and entering a building in the daytime, two counts of attaching plates to a motor vehicle and single counts of burning a building, attempting to burn a building receiving stolen property, malicious destruction of property over $250 and possessing a stolen motor vehicle.

Judge John Agostini ordered Gratton to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 bail.
 
Welsh pleaded not guilty on Thursday to with 14 counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the night time, four counts of malicious destruction of person property under $250, three counts of larceny of a motor vehicle, two counts of attaching plates to a motor vehicle and single counts of larceny from a building, receiving stolen property under $250, leaving the scene of an accident, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and malicious destruction of personal property over $250.

Agostini ordered Welsh to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 bail.

Ledbetter pleaded not guilty on Friday to 15 counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the night time, four counts of larceny of a motor vehicle, four counts of malicious destruction of personal property under $250, two counts of attaching plate to a motor vehicle, two counts of breaking and entering in the daytime and single counts of burning a building, attempting to burn a building, larceny from a building, receiving stolen property under $250, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and malicious destruction of persona property over $250.

Agostini ordered Ledbetter to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 bail.


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Springfield Man Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter From 2010 Murder
Staff Reports On: 12:58PM / Thursday March 22, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Springfield man pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Berkshire Superior County Thursday in the 2010 murder of a former Lee High School star athlete.

Terrance Brown, 28, pleaded guilty to single counts of manslaughter and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon in connection with the stabbing of 26-year-old Jahda Martin on March 6, 2010.

Brown, along with Allen McGraw and Trevor L. Pryce Jr. allegedly stabbed Martin in the Burger King parking lot on Wendell Avenue Extension. Martin died at Berkshire Medical Center shortly after the early morning altercation. Martin had just left Club Groove, located across the street, when he was attacked.

Judge John Agostini sentenced Brown to 10 to 12 years in state prison at the Massachusetts Correctional  Institution at Cedar Junction on the manslaughter charge and concurrent sentences on the other charges. Brown also pleaded guilty to unrelated charges of distribution of cocaine - his second offense - and drug violation in a school zone.

A single count of intimidation of a witness was dismissed by the state.


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North Adams Teen Arraigned on School Bus Theft
On: 09:25PM / Tuesday March 20, 2012
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A North Adams teenager was arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court on Monday for allegedly stealing a school bus on Sunday.

Brandone Bolte, 17, was pleaded not guilty to single counts of larceny of a motor vehicle and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, according to the North Adams Transcript.

Adams Police say the Dufour bus was taken from Adams on Sunday and driven to Richmond. Bolte was pulled over and arrested Sunday evening and held at the Adams Police Station until Monday's arraigment.

The larceny charge carries penalties of up to 15 years in prison or 2 1/2 in jail, depending on if the larceny is charged as a felony.

Operating a school bus requires a Commercial Driver's License, as well as passenger and school bus endorsement, and a School Bus Driver Certificate from the Department of Public Utilities, according to the state Registry of Motor Vehicles.



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Alleged Vermont Cat-Killer Pleads Not Guilty
Staff Reports On: 09:51PM / Monday March 19, 2012
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READSBORO, Vt. — Accused cat-killer Michael Choquette pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated animal cruelty Monday in Vermont District Court in Benningon, according to WCAX.

Choquette, 51, was arrested last week after his tenant reported to police he had killed her 4-year-old cat and dumped it into the outdoor wood furnace. Choquette told police it was an accident and he was trying to hide the body from the cat's owner, Kelly Gancarz.

State police discovered the animal's remains and charged Choquette with felony aggravated animal cruelty. During the investigation they learned of a similar incident with a former tenant's pet.

Police said Amanda Strange told them that her 4-year-old Siamese cat Mischief had been poisoned approximately a year earlier. The cat was allegedly fed rat poison inside Choquette's garage; it was taken to a local animal hospital, where it died from poisoning.

This new felony charge was added to the previous charge of killing Kelly Gancarz's cat on March 11.

Aggravated animal cruelty is when the perpetrator "intentionally kills an animal by means causing the animal undue pain or suffering," according to Vermont law.

Choquette could face up to six years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000.


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News Headlines
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2014 Bazaars & Craft Fairs
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Adams Selectmen Updated on Park Street, Town Projects
Visitors Bureau: Tourists Spent $161 Million In Lenox Last Year
Clarksburg Seniors Have Deadline for Cable Discount
Crimewatch Links

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Stamford/Clarksburg CrimeWatch

Pittsfield CrimeWatch

Emergency: 911
Adams 413-743-1212
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State Police  
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413-743-4700
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