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Pittsfield Man Arrested in Llama Killings

Staff Reports

LENOX, Mass. — Lenox Police say they have arrested a Pittsfield man who admits to the killing of two llamas last November at River Valley Farm.

Jared Dinicola, 19, of Marian Street, Pittsfield, was arrested Thursday, July 15, and is being held in the custody of the Lenox Police in lieu $5,000 cash bail until his arraignment later this morning in Central Berkshire District Court. He is being charged with two counts of killing an animal.

He was arrested by Lenox Police Officer Gary Lagarce.

According to a message from Police Chief Stephen E. O'Brien early Friday morning:

On July 14th Officer Lagarce conducted an interview with an individual that had information that Dinicola was the shooter and other persons were present at the time of the shooting.  On the 15th Officer Lagarce conducted 3 more interviews revealing that Dinicola was indeed the shooter. Lastly, also on the 15th, Dinicola was arrested, interviewed, and admitted his involvement in the killings. It appears Dinicola shot one arrow killing both Llamas. Everyone that was interviewed consistently referenced alcohol being involved and that Dinicola was the sole participant in the death of the llamas.

The llamas, Chocolate and Prada, were found shot by bow and arrow by owner Lisa Dachinger on Sunday morning, Nov. 8, 2010, 2009, at the New Lenox Road farm.

The young llamas were part of an extended family at the farm, which now has nine llamas (known as the Bouncers) and several breeds of sheep. Dachinger manages the farm with her three children, including her daughter Jennifer Petricca, who is the livestock manager.

Rewards were posted by radio talk personality Sherman Baldwin and the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen. (Michael Jester, president of the league, wrote in The Berkshire Eagle comment section that the total amount raised by his group is $1,625.) Baldwin, who has since left the area, said the reward money collected would remain uncashed in Pittsfield until the perpetrator was found.

"We are aware of a reward which was posted at the inception of this investigation, but are not involved with the collection of funds or their disbursement and assume that it is only available upon a successful conviction," said O'Brien.

The investigation involved regular collaboration between the Lenox Police, Trooper Brian Berkel of the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit, the Pittsfield Police, and Massachusetts Environmental Police. 

Updated at 2:10 p.m.:  Lenox Police say Dinicola was arraigned in Pittsfield and had his case transferred to Southern Berkshire District Court in Great Barrington; he is scheduled to a appear there next Friday, July 23.

We also talked to Sherman Baldwin, now hosting a radio talk show in Sarasota, Fla. At his last news conference, Baldwin had said the checks received toward the reward would remain uncashed. He'd collected about $3,600 that included money he'd donated.

But he decided he didn't want to leave any loose ends.

"I notified everybody I was destroying the checks. Someone gave me $50 cash and I spent two days tracking this person down to return it," said Baldwin. "I figured it was kind of a dead issue. I did it all in the spirit of goodness. I was shocked when John Krol contacted me about this morning."

The former TalkBerkshires host says he's not sure what to do at this point about the reward and is mulling some options.

Tags: animal abuse, reward      

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