Seven Suspects Related to North Adams Stabbing Arraigned

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The last of eight suspects connected to a stabbing death in Wheel Estates Mobile Home Park in North Adams last August was arraigned in Berkshire Superior Court on Monday, Jan. 5.

The three-month investigation into the death of 24-year-old Daniel J. Walters lead to the arrest of eight people on various charges and broke up an alleged drug trafficking circle.

Wayne A. Senecal Jr., 22, of Protection Avenue, North Adams, had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on Monday on a charge of furnishing the police with misleading information.

Michelle L. "Shelly" Nichlen, 28, of Ashland Street, North Adams, had a not-guilty plea entered on the same charge on Dec. 30.

Police say Senecal and Nichlen helped the lead suspect, Ronnell Garmie, flee the scene of the stabbing on Aug. 20, 2008, and then misled investigators.

Garmie, 19, was arrested the day after Walters' slaying at his mother's Bronx, N.Y., home.

Garmie was indicted by a Berkshire County grand jury on drug charges on Dec. 16. The jury declined indict him on a murder charge, finding Garmie had acted in self-defense in stabbing Waters. A police investigation had found Waters had entered the mobile home where Garmie was staying to steal drugs from him.

According to local media reports, the two men struggled and Walters slashed Garmie with a box cutter before being impaled on a steak knife in Garmie's hand. Walters body was found on neighbor's lawn.

Garmie is being held on $100,000 bail at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the drug charges.

Both Senecal and Nichlen were released on personal recognizance by Judge John J. Agostini.


The five other defendants were arraigned last week on a variety of charges.

Tina M. Senecal, 52, owner of the mobile home on Navajo Drive where the stabbing took place, was arraigned on Dec. 29, 2008, for allowing Garmie to stay at her home and use it as a base for his alleged drug dealing. She also aided him in trafficking, say police, between Aug. 1 and Aug. 20, 2008.

She had not-quilty pleas entered on her behalf for single counts of trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to violate drug laws and furnishing misleading information to police.
 
Walters' mother and girlfriend were arraigned the same day as Tina Senecal on charges of larceny and giving the police false information.

Monique M. Rock, 24, of Union Street, North Adams, and Constance Pratt, 44, of White Oaks Road, Williamstown, also known as Constance Winnie, were alleged to have gone with Walters to Senecal's trailer.

Two others, Kathleen Lear, 46, of Ashland Street and Brenda L. Blasi, 40, of Liberty Street, North Adams, were arraigned on Dec. 30 and Dec. 29, respectively, on single charges of consipiracy to violate drug laws, distribution of cocaine.

Police say the two women helped procure customers and packaged the drugs.

All five were released on personal recognizance.
    
The investigation was conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office who were aided by members of the North Adams Police Department.
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North Adams Trying to Determine 'Worst Case' Budget Picture

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city administration is looking at what kind of scenario North Adams can operate under without knowing how the state budget will play out. 
 
Mayor Thomas Bernard told the City Council on Tuesday night that "worst case is a hard thing to project right now simply because with 44 percent of our budget coming from state sources, a worst case is something that we can't manage, so what we're trying to figure out is what the worst case is that we can reasonably operate under."
 
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