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Police Inundated With Murder Rumors

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In the wake of finding two dead bodies, rumors about multiple violent attacks on women have been spreading like wildfire.

Police say they have been "inundated" with phone calls asking for information. The rumors, apparently being spread over the Internet, insinuate that there is an outbreak of violent crime and the police have requested federal assistance. That information is false and has no factual basis, police said.

"We believe these rumors are the result of speculation surrounding the recent discoveries of two bodies in the city. The first occurred in February in Canoe Meadows and the second last week in a wooded area off of West Street," Police Chief Michael Wynn said in a written statement.

"While both of those incidents are tragic, both have been investigated. There is no evidence of foul play in either case. Both were reported to the media as soon as the necessary notifications were made."

On Friday, Police discovered the body of Virginia May Brown, 49,  in a wooded area behind St. Mark School and the body of Beverly Tanner, 57, at Canoe Meadows wildlife sanctuary in late February. Tanner was initially ruled a suicide while Brown, who had been missing since January, is believed to have died from exposure. In either case, foul play was ruled out by police.

"Since there is no known crime series to investigate, there is no investigation for which to request assistance," Wynn said.

Police is asking the public to halt the spread of the rumors.

Tags: rumors, death, violent crime, body      

Pittsfield Police Find Dead Body

Andy McKeever

 PITTSFIELD, Mass - The body of 49-year-old Virginia May Brown turned up in a wooded area behind St. Mark School.

 
Brown was reported missing in January after her landlord found the door of her apartment and nobody home. She was last seen in the city on Jan. 7.
 
She was found Friday afternoon and an autopsy was performed Sunday at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston by Kimberly Springer, according to police.
 
Police do not suspect foul play and an official cause of death has not yet been determined pending the outcome of toxicology and further testing.
Tags: body, missing person      

New Marlborough Man Pleads Guilty to Mom's Murder

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A New Marlborough man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to murdering his mother three years ago.

Rodney M. Ball, 38, was given a life sentence in the murder of 55-year-old Donna Agar, to be served at the Massachusetts Correctional Facility at Cedar Junction.

Appearing before Judge John A. Agostini on Tuesday afternoon, Ball pleaded guilty to single counts of murder in the second degree and illegal possession of a firearm, for which he was given a concurrent 2 1/2- to three-year prison sentence.

Ball, a lumber yard worker, had been held without bail at the Berkshire County House of Correction since first being arraigned on Agar's murder in March 2008.

Agar was found in a pool of blood at her home on Clayton Mill River Road in Southfield on the afternoon of March 16, 2008, after state police were contacted to do a wellness check after Ball drove her minivan to confront his estranged wife. Ball arrived at the scene while police were there and they found a rifle in the vehicle.

An autopsy found Agar had died from multiple stab wounds to the neck and chest and loss of blood. Ball, then living on Clark Way, told investigators his mother had killed herself.

The investigation was conducted by members of the New Marlborough and Sheffield police departments, state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office, troopers assigned to the Lee barracks and the Crime Scene Services Section of the state police.   

Tags: murder      

Police Identify Body Found at Canoe Meadows

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The body of a woman found Wednesday, Feb. 23, in Canoe Meadows wildlife sanctuary has been identified as Beverly Tanner, 57.

Tanner, whose last known address was on North Street, had not been seen since early January. Police say she was not reported missing.

The body was reportedly found by a couple of snowshoers off Wolf Pine Trail in the 262-acre sanctuary. It was fully dressed, frozen and partially covered with snow. A backpack was next to it. The death is being investigated but Detective Capt. Patrick F. Barry told The Berkshire Eagle on last week that foul play was not suspected.

The preliminary ruling on the death is suicide, pending toxicology results, according to the district attorney's office.  An autopsy was performed on Friday in Boston by Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Henry Nields.

Anyone with information concerning Tanner's whereabouts or who may have had contact with her since early January is asked to contact the Pittsfield Police Department at 413-448-9700.

Tags: body, missing person, suicide      

Superior Court Briefs: Feb. 22-25

Staff Reports

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

Travis G. Bateman, 35, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of distribution of cocaine and manufacturing cocaine.

Agostini ordered that he serve concurrent 3 1/2- to five-year state prison sentences at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on both charges.      
 
The charges stem from the sale of cocaine in Pittsfield on April 20, 2009, and the execution of a search warrant at a home in Pittsfield on July 17, 2009.
 
The investigation was conducted by members of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force. 

Aaron Provencher, 36, of New Windsor Road, Hinsdale, had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of dissemination of visual material of a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct and 12 counts of knowingly possessing visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct.

He was released on personal recognizance. The incidents are alleged to have occurred in Hinsdale between November 10, 2009, and December 1, 2009.

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

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, Feb. 23

Adam Smith, 31, of Second Street, Pittsfield, had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf for single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute (second offense), manufacturing cocaine (second offense), possession of methadone with intent to distribute (second offense), possession of marijuana with intent to distribute (second offense), four counts of drug violations in a school zone and possession of ammunition without a firearm indentification card.

He was ordered held in the House of Correction on $100,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on December 31, 2010.

Gregory J. Mathews Jr., 23, of Second Street, Pittsfield, had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin, of methadone and of marijuana, each with intent to distribute; one count of manufacturing cocaine; four counts of drug violation within a school zone and single count of possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.

He was ordered held at the House of Correction with $2,500 bail.

The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on December 31, 2010, and the investigation was conducted by the Pittsfield Police Department.  

Christopher C. Mead, 28, and Elizabeth J. Mead, aka Elizabeth J. Rogers, 32, both of East Street, Pittsfield, both pleaded guilty to one count of possession of heroin.

Each was ordered to pay a $500 fine. The charge stems from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on July 26, 2010.

•  Jeffrey A. Williamson, 47, had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of distribution of cocaine and possession of cocaine, both second offenses.

He was ordered held at the House of Correction on $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety bail.

It is alleged that Williamson sold cocaine on December 6, 2010, and was in possession of cocaine with intent to sell the drug when he was arrested on December 7, 2010. The incidents are alleged to have occurred in Pittsfield.

 

All information provided by the district attorney's office.

Tags: drugs, cocaine, sex crime, children, pornography, heroin, methadone, cocaine      
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