PITTSFIELD -- A judge has found a 22-year-old city man not guilty of two felonies in a bench trial held at the Jury of Six session of Central Berk shire District Court.
Judge Bethzaida Sanabria-Vega found Andrew Burdick not guilty of two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph Yorlano told the court that on Jan. 23 Burdick threatened to cut Kyle Dube, 19, with a knife. The prosecutor said that Burdick also told Dube he had a gun, then reached into his jacket as if to pull a weapon out, scaring Dube, who believed he was about to be shot.
That day, Dube and his girlfriend, Brittany Keyes, 19, said they saw Burdick watching them and that he followed them from a local restaurant to a nearby automotive shop. Dube said he ran after Burdick to "protect his girlfriend."
Burdick’s lawyer, John A. Bernardo, argued that Dube was the aggressor and chased his client through a marshy area near Merrill Road and that any movement Burdick may have made by reaching into his jacket didn’t rise to the level of an imminent threat of an assault and battery, one of the necessary elements needed to prove the charge. Burdick didn’t have any weapons on him, according to the lawyer, and suffers from Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, among other associated problems.
The judge said the testimony from the two prosecution witnesses was not credible and differed greatly from what they had told police. She also noted when deciding the case that the alleged victim was chasing Burdick, not vice versa.
Burdick is still facing another trial on assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and other charges for allegedly attacking a man with a gas pump handle in March. He is scheduled to go to trial in February.
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