Wednesday August 1, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- For her role in a bar fight last September, a Pittsfield woman will be heading to jail for nine months after she gives birth to her fourth child.

Tuesday in Central Berkshire District Court, Sara J. Stein, 26, of Dalton Avenue, pleaded guilty to a single count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and agreed to serve nine months in jail with two months credit for time already served.

Judge Paul M. Vrabel exceeded the prosecution's sentencing re quest for Stein.

The Berkshire District Attorney's Office had asked that Stein be sentenced to a year in jail with two months to be served.

"I've been asked to sentence people to a lot more time for far less [serious charges]," Vrabel said.

Vrabel will allow Stein to give birth to her child outside of jail. Stein, who is due in mid-August, is free until Oct. 12, when she'll begin her sentence at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction.

If Stein fails to show up to begin her sentence or violates probation, her sentence will double, the judge told her.

While Stein is in jail, her children will be living with her mother, according to her lawyer.

Police and prosecutors say Stein attacked 27-year-old Tamara Morgan outside of Hermann Alexander's Bar on Lyman Street in Pittsfield in the early morning hours of Sept. 10, 2011.

Stein punched and kicked the woman. Morgan said she believed Stein also used a knife on her -- a charge that was not substantiated in court.

Morgan was covered in blood after the attack and suffered a fractured eye socket, lacerations and other injuries, she said.

Morgan told the court on Monday that following the attack, she saw Stein laughing about it. Morgan described Stein as an "inhumane woman celebrating her transgressions."

The two women were ac quainted and had a run-in a few weeks before at a different bar, according to a Pittsfield Police report.

After the attack, Stein "slandered" Morgan's name on Facebook, Morgan told the court.

Morgan has since moved to Florida to start her life over, continues to have nightmares about the attack, and still suffers physically from her injuries, she said.

At the time of the incident, Stein was already facing a separate charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for attacking a woman with a knife during an altercation in April 2011. In that case, she was sentenced last October to serve 60 days of a one-year sentence along with probation.

Her attorney, Anthony Giana copoulos, told the court that Stein has completed an anger management course, is in counseling and "is doing very well on probation."

The case was scheduled to go to trial Tuesday. Gianaco poulos told The Eagle they took the plea in order "to minimize the exposure" for Stein, who could have been sentenced to up to 21 2 years in jail if she had lost the case.

Stein remains on probation but will have it terminated when she begins her new sentence. Stein was credited with just under two months for time she has already served.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
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