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Decade-Old Lee Rape Case Comes To End

Andy McKeever

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It may have been quite the debacle and took more than a decade but the prosecutions of three men accused of raping a women in Lee in 1998 have come to an end.

William Jansen, 35, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court to one count of concealing or compounding a felony Wednesday and placed on two-years probation. Jansen was accused of videotaping Aaron Kincaid and Richard Lampron rape a woman in their Lee apartment in 1998.

Jansen pleaded guilty to misleading investigators about his own and the other two men's actions.

Last fall, Kincaid pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated rape on the then 27-year-old woman after multiple trials. Lampron was sentenced to seven to 10 years in 2005, which he is serving concurrently with a similar sentence for his conviction on another rape in 1999.

The case had taken a lot of twists and turns, with mistrials and Lampron fleeing the state prior to the first trial.

Tags: rape, Lampron, Kincaid      

No Charges For Officer Who Shot Dalton Man

Andy McKeever

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The police officer that shot a Dalton man in November will not face criminal charges.

Pittsfield Police Officer Christopher Colello shot 36-year-old Michael Barry three times in the woods behind his Washington Mountain Road home in Dalton on Nov. 3.

District Attorney David F.Capeless announced Tuesday that an investigation was completed and that none of the officers involved will face criminal charges.

The investigation was conducted by Massachusetts State Police Lieutenant Brian Foley, a member of the investigative unit assigned to the district attorney’s office and the commanding officer on the Berkshire County Drug Task Force.

Barry is still facing charges of single counts of attempted murder, attempted arson, aggravated assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and vandalizing property as well as two counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon. Barry had threatened to kill himself and others, police said.

On Nov. 5 he had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on those charges.

According to the district attorney's office, Barry was shot by Colello when he jumped up and made a movement that caused the officers to fear he was drawing a weapon in the woods behind the home shortly after 1 a.m. He was hospitalized and underwent surgery at Berkshire Medical Center.

A press release from the district attorney's office at the time states the incident occurred when Dalton Police responded to 104 Washington Mountain Road shortly after midnight because of reports of a drunken man pouring gasoline over the garage.

When Officer Deanna Strout arrived on the scene she encountered Barry, who then ran into the woods behind the residence.

Additional officers from Dalton and the Pittsfield Police Department, including a K-9 Unit, were dispatched to assist in the search for him. Colello was assisting on mutual aid, according to Capeless

Witnesses at the residence reportedly told police that Barry had been at a Dalton bar late Tuesday night and, after arriving home intoxicated, began smashing and throwing items and saying he wanted to die. He poured gasoline on himself and in the garage and threatened to start a fire and kill himself and others, witnesses told police.
Barry was located in the woods shortly after 1 a.m. by Colello and Pittsfield K-9 Officer James Losaw when the shooting occurred.

Capeless did not comment on the status of the charges against Barry.


Pittsfield Investigating Three Robberies

Pittsfield Police Department

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Police Department is investigating three robberies that have occurred in the last three weeks.

On Sunday, June 12, the Convenience Plus on Linden Street was robbed at gun point.  The suspect was described as a black male, approximately 6 feet tall, with black hair and a beard.  The suspect was described as wearing all black.   The weapon was described as a black handgun.

On Saturday, June 18, the Convenience Plus on Tyler Street was robbed at gun point.  The suspect was described as a black male, approximately 6 feet tall and weighing approximately 200 pounds.  The suspect was described as wearing a gray fleece jacket, blue and gray striped pajama pants, and a bucket style hat with an argyle pattern which was black, white, and gray in color.  The weapon was described as a black handgun.

On Friday, June 24 the CVS on West Street was robbed.  The suspect stated he had a gun but he did not display it.  The suspect was described as a black male, approximately 5’10” – 6 feet tall, and weighing approximately 170 pounds.  The suspect was described as wearing a blue nylon pullover jacket, blue jeans, white sneakers, and a pink hat.

Anyone with information about any of these incidents is asked to contact the Pittsfield Police Department Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.




EV Worldwide Partner Guilty Of Fraud

Andy McKeever

Updated December 1, 2011 at 4:11 p.m. : Christopher Willson was sentenced on Tuesday to one year and one day in federal prison and must pay $100,000 in restitution to the Federal Transit Administration and $215,138 to the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority by U.S. District Judge Rya W. Zobel in Boston, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

BOSTON — Christopher Willson, who dazzled Pittsfield in 1999 with promises of bringing 1,000 jobs to former General Electric land, was convicted Tuesday for taking the money and running.

The former chief scientist and business partner with EV Worldwide LLC from 2000 to 2005 was convicted in federal court Tuesday on defrauding the federal government of more than $700,000, according to multiple reports from The Associated Press. The conviction was on six counts of wire fraud.

EV Worldwide received up to  $1.35 million in federal grant money to start up a company developing electric batteries for public buses. The company later reeled in additional grant money. However, the money required an equal match.

EV Worldwide was later accused of doctoring paperwork to show that match. The verdict found Willson guilty of obtaining more than $700,000 after submitting 10 fake or inflated invoices that claimed to match the grant money.

Willson faces a maximum of 120 years in prison and will return to court for sentencing on Oct. 6.

EV Worldwide had the city buzzing in the early part of the millennium with the grant money. Pittsfield officials jumped on board with the idea by granting the company an additional $250,000 from the GE Economic Development Fund to move into a vacant industrial building — the GL&V Development Center at 448 Hubbard Ave.

The company was going to develop a nickel-hydrogen battery to feed into what was, at the time, expected to be a booming market in electric and hybrid vehicles under its subsidiary ElectraStor LLC.

The company never got off the ground.

In 2001, residents saw the first signs of trouble when the state began probing the city's grant agreement during an investigation of the city's finances. The other shoe dropped in 2008; then EV Worldwide CEO Michael J. Armitage was charged with fraud and money laundering.

In 2010, Armitage signed a plea agreement admitting to misusing up to $4 million in federal grant money between 2000 and 2006.


Cheshire Woman Charged With Embezzlement

Andy McKeever

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Cheshire woman was arraigned in Berkshire Superior Court Monday on embezzlement charges for allegedly taking about $110,000 from her job at TD Bank.

Jennifer Thurston, 39, had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of embezzlement by a bank employee and larceny over $250.

Judge Mary Lou Rup released her on personal recognizance. Thurston allegedly took approximately $110,000 from the bank between February 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009. The investigation was conducted by the Pittsfield Police Department.

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