Wednesday September 7, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- A member of the local Hells Angels is being held on $1 million cash bail on charges of child pornography and extortion, while the search continues for a key witness scheduled to testify against him in a separate upcoming criminal trial and two others.

Adam Lee Hall, shackled and wearing the motorcycle club's T-shirt, arrived at the Berkshire County courthouse complex Tuesday morning under an unusually heavy police presence.

Meanwhile, authorities continued Tuesday to investigate the disappearance of David R. Glasser, 44; Edward S. Frampton, 58; and Robert T. Chadwell, 47. They have been missing from the apartment Glasser and Frampton shared at 254 Linden St. since Aug. 28, the day Tropical Storm Irene hit.

Glasser is a witness in a criminal case against Hall and is also the victim of a scheme aimed at derailing him from testifying against Hall, according to authorities.

On Monday, District Attorney David F. Capeless said the three men, now missing for more than a week, may have been the victims of foul play. Capeless is not commenting on any connections between Hall and the men's disappearances.

Authorities searched for the men in Pittsfield State Forest on Sunday and Monday, then concentrated their efforts Tuesday in the neighborhood from which they went missing. There was no sign of a struggle at the residence where the three men were last seen on Aug. 27.

While authorities have declined to comment on whether Hall is considered a suspect in the three men's disappearances, Hall's attorney, William M. Rota, told The Associated Press on Tuesday, "I would not be surprised with the authorities to suspect [Hall's involvement], but I have no reason to suspect that it's true."

Rota said that as far as he knows his client hadn't been questioned by police in the matter of the men's disappearance.

Hall, who has been out on $250,000 bail for his other cases, was picked up on Sunday on new charges -- extortion and two counts each of possessing child pornography, dissemination of child pornography and solicitation of child pornography. Police and prosecutors allege Hall coerced a 16-year-old girl to send him lewd photographs of herself or else she wouldn't see her friend again.

In court on Tuesday, Hall pleaded not guilty to those charges. Rota told the judge the charges were "a bit of a stretch."

Nevertheless, Central Berkshire District Court Judge Rita Koenigs agreed with Berkshire Assistant District Attorney Gregory Barry's bail request -- that Hall be held on $1 million cash or $10 million bond. Barry cited Hall's five cases pending in superior court and his alleged history of witness intimidation. Barry also won his request to have Hall's $250,000 bail in his other pending criminal cases revoked.

Hall is being held at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction and has an Oct. 3 court hearing. Hall can be held for 60 days without the right to bail on the revocation.

"They threw the book at him," Rota later told The Eagle.

The 34-year-old Hall, a resident of the town of Peru, is scheduled to go to trial in Berkshire Superior Court on Sept. 19 on charges that include kidnapping, assault and battery with a baseball bat, and witness intimidation.

In 2009, Hall allegedly beat Glasser with a baseball bat, believing he had stolen a car part from him, and forced him to turn over his truck as payment. Authorities also allege Hall tried to frame Glasser by pinning him to a phony robbery in order to prevent him from testifying against him in one of his criminal cases.

The brother of missing man Robert T. Chadwell told The Eagle on Monday that Robert hung out with Glasser and Frampton.

Les Chadwell said he was aware of Glasser's "tangle" with the Hells Angels, but that his brother and Frampton were not involved. Les Chadwell said he feared the worst and that his brother was in the wrong place at the wrong time.