Sunday June 17, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A New York teen attending a residential school in Great Barrington has been charged for allegedly choking a fellow student and attempting to assault a worker with a metal wire.

Keith Thigpen, 19, had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on Friday in Central Berkshire District Court for single counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery and disorderly conduct.

On Wednesday night, Thigpen, a resident at the Eagleton School, a Great Barrington-based residential "psycho-educational" facility, attacked a fellow student in the gymnasium, grabbed him by the throat and began choking him, according to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office. Thigpen then allegedly turned on a staff member who had pulled him off the other student, threatening him with a large metal pin he had pulled from a fire extinguisher. The staff was eventually able to gain control of Thigpen that night.

Great Barrington Police were called to the school on Thursday morning, according to a police report, because Thigpen had continued to act out.

On Friday, Thigpen appeared in Central District Court. The DA’s Office asked that $2,000 bail be set based on the teen’s ties to New York and his alleged mental health issues.

Attorney Robert D. Sullivan Jr., who represented Thigpen pro bono for the arraignment, successfully argued that Thig pen should be released on personal recognizance since he had no history of failing to show up for court and had a minimal criminal record.

Judge Fredric D. Rutberg ordered Thigpen back to Southern District Court on Monday. A new lawyer will be assigned to the case at that time.

Thigpen is on probation until 2014 for a conviction of criminal possession of a weapon in New York and at some point will be picked up by the Westchester County Probation Department for a possible probation violation.

The school, located on Monterey Road, has filed a no trespass order against Thigpen.

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