Saturday June 9, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Two brothers could end up testifying against one another at their back-to-back trials scheduled for later this year.

Both are going to Jury of Six trials in Berkshire Central District Court on charges stemming from their May 2011 machete and crowbar fight at a house they co-owned.

Paul Kwasniowski, 56, of Pittsfield, will be tried first on Oct. 29, and his older brother, John, 60, will likely to take the stand as the victim in the case. If court proceedings go as scheduled, the roles will be reversed the next day.

On May 18, 2011, a fight broke out between the brothers at 26 Williamsburg Terrace.

According to a police report, around 4 p.m. that day, Paul came up behind his older brother with a machete in one hand and a crowbar in the other and threatened to kill him. John, who was under the kitchen sink fixing a pipe at the time, was able to wrestle the crowbar from his brother, which he then used to hit him in the head and hand until Paul dropped the machete, according to the report.

When police arrived not long after, they were shocked by what they saw. Pittsfield Police Detective Thomas H. Harrington Jr., in his report, called it "one of the bloodiest scenes" he had encountered in his 25-year career.

Paul’s trial was scheduled for this past week, but because he was hospitalized with chest pain, the trial was rescheduled for October.


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He remains out on personal recognizance pending the outcome of the trial.

His brother, who lives in Las Vegas, had flown to Massachusetts for the trial this week. John is represented by attorney Timothy J. Shugrue and remains out on $1,000 bail.

Both men are facing the same charge: Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

While John did not appear to have suffered any physical injuries in the brawl, Paul suffered a broken wrist, eight broken fingers, a broken nose and a large gash to his head.

This apparent disparity between the brothers’ wounds was pointed out to The Eagle on Friday by Paul’s attorney, Robert D. Sullivan Jr., who feels his client was the victim in the incident.

Sullivan said Paul suffered severe wounds, was hospitalized for days afterward, and has close to a "quarter million dollars" in medical bills.

John has said his "violent" brother attacked him and that he was "heartbroken" over what happened.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx: aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6249; On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx