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 Committee Looks for Legal Clarification on Pillar Art

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

The General Government Committee, made up this term of Chairwoman Lisa Blackmer, Jessica Sweeney and Wayne Wilkinson, will report back to the council.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The General Government Committee will be requesting the city solicitor's opinion on how a federal arts law applies to the so-called pillar art that was painted over three years ago.
 
 "We're sending it to the lawyer and my thought is let's let them do the heavy work first before we get too much in the weeds," said committee Chairwoman Lisa Blackmer.
 
Blackmer said her concern mainly was if or how the Visual Artists Rights Act would come into play. The 1990 act requires owners of the property on which the work is located to give artists at least 90 days notice that it will be removed. But it also only covers limited and original works of art.
 
 William Oberst, one of the artists involved in the after-school project that produced the pillar murals, is asking that the city allow a sample to be taken to see if the works were still viable.
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