Sunday August 26, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- James Kimpel-Phibbs, accused of last weekend’s attack on a man with a metal pipe, is being held at a secure mental health facility so doctors can determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

After a court appointed psychiatrist determined earlier this week that more time was needed to evaluate the mental state of Kimpel-Phibbs, 37, of Pittsfield, he was taken to Bridgewater State Hospital for 20 days.

Kimpel-Phibbs was arrested the night of Aug. 10 by Pittsfield Police after allegedly hitting 30-year-old Vincent Hottel in the arm with a metal pipe, smashing out the windows of a truck and then breaking into a Burbank Street residence looking for his girlfriend, who was hiding inside.

The defendant had apparently become enraged after his girlfriend asked him to drop her purse off to her at a friend’s house.

Hottel suffered minor injuries, according to police.

At his arraignment last Monday in Central Berkshire District Court, Kimpel-Phibbs was held without bail after pleading not guilty to single counts of felony assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, breaking and entering in the nighttime, vandalism and malicious damage to a motor vehicle.

Kimpel-Phibbs was held in order to determine his mental state after it was revealed that while in a police holding cell he allegedly twice smeared feces on the floor and walls and was "ranting and raving" on topics of a religious nature.

The defendant is currently on federal probation for drug and gun convictions.

Earlier this week federal authorities lodged a warrant against Kimpel-Phibbs on a probation violation. It was unclear whether the federal charge would supersede the local charges.

In 2008, Kimpel-Phibbs pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute and possession of a firearm and was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, followed by five years of probation.

Attorney Lori Levinson, who represented the defendant on his federal charges, has taken over Kimpel-Phibbs new case from attorney Joseph G. Vosit.

The defendant is scheduled to be back in court on Sept. 10.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
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On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx