Thursday November 29, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Daniel Knight will be spending the next decade in prison for his role in a drug-fueled crime spree in the summer of 2011.

Sentenced on Thursday, the 27-year-old Pittsfield man was found guilty earlier this month on 19 of 38 charges he was facing in Berkshire Superior Court.

Among them, he was found guilty of seven weapons charges, which allowed prosecutors to move for the charge of armed career felon, which carries a 10-year minimum mandatory prison sentence. Knight was convicted on that charge in a separate trial a day after his first trial ended.

Knight's attorney, Michelle Mechta, told the court on Thursday that her client's crimes stemmed from a drug addiction.

"What he did in a two-month period put him in this position where he's looking at 10 years [in prison]," Mechta said. "He has a demon to conquer."

Mechta said that because Knight was unable to get therapy to help treat his addiction, he kept returning to drugs.

In Knight's first trial, he was found guilty on multiple charges related to the theft of an ATM from Bill's Top of the Hill Citgo on West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield, along with the attempted theft of another ATM from a city hair salon and a break-in at storage facility in New York in which a cache of firearms was stolen. The crimes were committed between June 1, 2011, and Sept. 13, 2011.

The jury spent more than six hours over two days deliberating before returning the verdict against Knight.


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Knight was found not guilty of charges related to a break-in of a Pittsfield storage facility.

On Thursday, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Marianne Shelvey asked the court to sentence Knight to between 12 and 15 years in prison, citing his criminal history, including previous drug distribution convictions.

Mechta asked for a three- to 10-year prison sentence for her client. She read letters from Knight's former employers who praised the man's abilities and intelligence.

Judge John A. Agostini sentenced Knight to at least 10 years and no more than 12 years in the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. The last two years of the sentence would allow for parole, something the judge believed Knight needed in helping him with his mental health and addiction issues.

One of Knight's codefendants who testified against him, 22-year-old Marley Roraback, was sentenced on Wednesday for her role in the crimes. She pleaded guilty to single counts of accessory after the fact on a breaking and entering in the nighttime to commit a felony and receiving stolen property worth more than $250. She was sentenced by Agostini to one year of probation.
To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6249.
On Twitter: @BETheAmelinckx