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Death of Assault Victim Has DA Seeking Murder Charge

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Berkshire district attorney intends to seek a murder charge indictment against a North Adams man who has been held by authorities since the brutal beating of his wife five months ago. 
 
Charli Cook, 41, died at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield  on Sunday, Dec. 1. She'd been hospitalized there since July 11 after what authorities say was a brutal attack by her husband, Michael Cook Sr., at their Chase Avenue home. 
 
Michael Cook, then 42 years old, was arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court on single counts of assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, and assault and battery on a family or household member.
 
With his wife's death on Sunday, District Attorney Andrea Harrington said she will seek a murder charge against Cook. 
 
"I send my condolences to Charli Cook's family and friends," she said in a statement. "The investigators, prosecutors, and victim advocates who have been working on this case were heartbroken by her passing. We are determined to obtain justice for Charli."
 
Michael Cook has been held without bail at  the Berkshire County House of Correction after being determined a danger to the community. 
 
When police responded to the call on July 11, they found Charli Cook unresponsive and bleeding from a large wound on the back of her head. She was taken to Baystate for surgery and had been placed in a coma. She suffered a skull fracture. 
 
The police report filed with initial charges say Cook admitted to the crime on the scene saying,"I just snapped for a minute."
 
According to court records, Cook has a long history of domestic violence and sexual assault, including a conviction for child rape. In 2015, he was charged with assault and battery after allegedly assaulting his wife. That case was dismissed. In 2016, his wife had filed for a restraining order against him, claiming he assaulted her multiple times and mentally abused her.
     

Two-Vehicle Crash on Mass Ave Injures Four

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A Tuesday morning two-car accident sent four to Berkshire Medical Center North's emergency satellite facility with only minor injuries.
 
Police responded to the accident around 9 a.m. near Church Hill on Massachusetts Avenue, near Blackinton Church. 
 
A gray Nissan Rogue eastbound toward the city center was sideswiped by a red Toyota Venza sedan traveling west, according to police.
 
This portion of the heavily traveled street is often narrowed by vehicles parked along the side of the road.
 
An officer conducting preliminary accident reconstruction said the Toyota appears to have left its lane of travel and that the Nissan, after being sideswiped by the Toyota, dug its driver's side tire into the edge of the road, turning the vehicle over.
 
It came to rest on Blackinton Manor's front lawn but people in the area were able to flip the car over before the police, ambulance, and fire trucks arrived.
 
The three passengers in the Nissan were transported to the emergency facility along with the single driver in the Toyota.
 
Police reported that none of the injuries appeared to be serious. The road in this section was briefly closed to traffic until the scene could be cleared. The vehicles were removed by Dean's Towing and Mohawk Auto. 
 
     

North Adams Police Arrest Suspect in Armed Robberies

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police have arrested a suspect in two armed robberies that occurred overnight Saturday and Sunday.
 
The first robbery occurred about 9 p.m. on Saturday when Dave's Package Store at the corner of River and Canal streets set off a hold up alarm. 
 
Dispatch was able to verify upon calling the business that the clerk was held up by an individual who was brandishing a knife. The person fled the area before officers arrived. 
 
However, the suspect was able to be identified by officers from the security footage. Officers checked known locations of where the individual stays but could not locate the suspect.
 
Then Sunday morning at approximately 4:40 a.m., a second armed robbery occurred at Dunkin' Donuts by the same method. In that case, an individual made off with a sum of money from one of the registers after going behind the counter and brandishing a knife toward the clerk. Again, the suspect fled the area but the description given led officers to believe the two incidents were connected by the same individual.
 
An officer who had remained in the area of Dunkin' Donuts observed the suspect walking in the Union Street area just before 7 a.m. This was the same person who was identified at first robbery. The suspect began to flee from the officer immediately. A foot chase then ensued that led from Union Street to the River Street area.
 
The office caught up with the suspect on River Street but the individual resisted arrest. Backup officers arrived shortly after, at which time the suspect was taken into custody. The initiating officer and the suspect were both injured during the arrest.
 
The officer and suspect were both treated and released at Berkshire Medical Center's North Adams campus. The suspect will remain in custody at the North Adams Police Department on $7,540 cash bail until being brought to Northern Berkshire District Court on Monday morning.
 
The name of the individual is being withheld at this point to prevent "public shaming," according to the post by Police Chief Jason Wood.
     

River Street's East End Closed for Pole Replacement in North Adams

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — River Street was closed between Freeman Avenue and Eagle Street for a few hours on Monday afternoon to replace a utility pole. 
 
Police reported that the pole was struck in a motor vehicle accident on Monday morning. The pole is located by Dave's Package Store at the corner of Eagle and River. 
 
"Crews are working diligently to resolve this issue and the roadway will be reopened as soon as possible,"  stated Lt. Anthony Beverly in a posting on the Police Department's Facebook page. 
     

North Adams Police Investigating Feces Vandalism

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Authorities are investigating a disturbing incident that occurred early Wednesday morning at Brayton Hill Apartments.
 
According to Facebook posts made by friends and neighbors of the victim, someone smeared feces over her door and air conditioner and left a pile on her deck. 
 
The victim, a single black woman with small children who is not being named, told friends that there had been a loud party in the apartment next door on Tuesday night and a racial slur could be heard repeatedly. That has lead some to believe that it could be a hate crime.
 
The perpetrator was reportedly caught on video by security cameras at the housing complex around 3 a.m. 
 
Police on Thursday offered more information in that officers responded to the 
 
The Facebook post also averred that the perpetrator was wearing clothing similar to that of one of the men at the party, but none of this information could be confirmed. Another poster, who says the gathering was at her home, denied there were any racist elements and said she was told by management that the suspect appeared hours after her guests left.
 
Police Lt. Anthony Beverly on Wednesday stated that police were actively investigating the incident but referred any further questions to the chief of police or the district attorney's office. 
 
According to Facebook posts made by friends and neighbors of the victim, someone smeared feces over her door and air conditioner and left a pile on her deck. 
 
The victim, a single black woman with small children who is not being named, told friends that there had been a loud party in the apartment next door on Tuesday night and a racial slur could be heard repeatedly. That has lead some to believe that it could be a hate crime.
 
The perpetrator was reportedly caught on video by security cameras at the housing complex around 3 a.m. 
 
Police on Thursday offered more information in that officers were dispatched to Brayton Hill at about 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
 
The responding officer and detectives assigned to the case are working with the Brayton Hill property manager, Millenia Housing Management, to determine if a suspect or suspects can be identified. 
 
Police Chief Jason Wood said the department also is working in collaboration with District Attorney Andrea Harrington's office, including investigating possible racist motivations for the act. 
 
"The district attorney's office condemns this behavior,” said Harrington in a statement forwarded by Wood. "We will use the full force of the law to hold accountable those who undermine the peace and safety of our community."
 
Mayor Thomas Bernard on Wednesday night said was aware of the incident and police investigation.
 
The Facebook post also averred that the perpetrator was wearing clothing similar to that of one of the men at the party, but none of this information could be confirmed. Another poster, who says the gathering was at her home, denied there were any racist elements and said she was told by management that the suspect appeared hours after her guests left.
 
Wood's statement said law enforcement will pursue every lead while ensuring that every citizen's constitutional rights are upheld, protected, and respected in the pursuit of justice for the victim of this reprehensible crime.
 
Outrage over the incident was immediate as the post was shared with community groups. A GoFundMe was set up to help the victim purchase a new air conditioner, security cameras in addition to the facility's and new locks, as well as to provide for moving costs should that become necessary. 
 
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the North Adams Police Department at 413-664-4945.
 
Write-thru at 2:36 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 8, including statement from Wood and Harrington.
     
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