PITTSFIELD - Two men are behind bars following a violent early morning home invasion that resulted in one resident being sent to the hospital after he was beaten with a pistol. Ansel Sparrow, 22, and Steven Lesley, 18, pleaded not guilty to felony home invasion at their arraignments on Tuesday in Central Berkshire District Court. Sparrow is being held without bail, and Lesley is being held on $200,000 cash bail.
According to a Pittsfield Police report, the residents of a Wahconah Street apartment woke up around 2 a. m. to find two men, one armed with a gun and the other with a knife, standing over them demanding money. Both assailants were wearing sweatshirts with hoods tied tightly to obscure their faces.
During an ensuing struggle, Terance Moore, 25, was pistolwhipped several times by one man, while his girlfriend was struck in the head twice by the other.
The intruders then ran out of the house empty-handed, according to the report.
Moore suffered several lacerations to the head, and was taken to the hospital, treated and released.
Police said the one of the victims saw a black Toyota pickup truck used in the getaway. Lesley was stopped a short time later in a black Toyota pickup truck by state police on Wellington Avenue, and was arrested on an out standing warrant.
While in custody, he allegedly told police that he didn't enter the Wahconah Street residence, but that he did drive two men, including Sparrow, to and from the apartment. The other man was not identified in the police report. Lesley told police he had been intimidated into helping the men and feared for his family's safety. According to the report, Lesley's jeans had what appeared to be a blood stain on them.
One of the victims also identified Sparrow, known as "Yameen," as the gunman by his voice and mannerisms, according to the police report.
On Tuesday, attorney Kenneth G. Warren Jr., representing Sparrow, said his client denied any connection to the crime and was "being set up." According to the attorney, there was no physical evidence connecting Sparrow to the crime. He pointed out to the court that Sparrow's codefendant was the one allegedly found driving the truck and may have had blood on his pants.
Sparrow was held without bail by Judge Paul M. Vrabel pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for Friday.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Marianne Shelvey told the court Sparrow, whom she called a "validated Bloods gang member," served three years on breaking and entering and drug charges from 2008.
"Here we are again a short time later," she told the judge.
Lesley was held on $200,000 cash bail by agreement of his attorney, Michelle Mechta, and the Berkshire District Attorney's Office.
Lesley was also arraigned on several other unrelated charges, including aggravated assault and battery and vandalism in cases involving his exgirlfriend. He pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Police said the investigation into the home invasion is ongoing.
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