Friday September 28, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Nearly nine years after failing to show up for court, a local man pleaded guilty on Friday in Central Berkshire District Court to violating his probation in 2003 and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

James Ridel, 55, of Peru, was on probation when he violated it by drinking alcohol. He was scheduled to be in court on Oct. 23, 2003, for a violation hearing. He never showed.

In March 2003, Judge Fredric D. Rutberg had sentenced him to 45 days in jail and two years of probation on charges of domestic assault and battery and violating an abuse prevention order from 2003 and an assault and battery on a juvenile from a 2002 case.

After Ridel failed to show for court, a warrant was issued for arrest.

Ridel left the Berkshires, moved to Arizona and even did a stint of probation in that state back in 2008 on a charge of disorderly conduct.

On Sept. 23, Ridel, back in Massachusetts, was arrested by state police and was held without bail pending Friday's hearing.

In court, Rutberg ordered Ridel to serve 18 months in jail and terminated his probation.

Ridel told the court he has an alcohol problem. He asked that he be allowed to attend a substance abuse treatment program while incarcerated and hopes to "start a new chapter" of his life.

There is currently an outstanding warrant for Ridel out of Arizona for a drunken driving charge, but according to the Probation Department, that state wasn't planning on extraditing him.


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