PITTSFIELD -- About a month after being given "a second chance at life" by a Berkshire Superior Court judge, the woman who admitted robbing a city credit union in March 2012 was back in court on Monday to answer a probation warrant for leaving a drug treatment center and returning to her former life of drugs and the street.
On Monday, Brenda Santos, 23, of Whitman, was brought into Berkshire Superior Court on a probation violation and sent to another drug rehab center pending a final hearing on May 13 after an impassioned request by her attorney. The probation department was initially asking for $10,000 in bail.
Attorney Jill Sheldon told the court that her client has been addicted to heroin since she was 18 and had just started a second rehab program. If Santos were held in jail, she would be kicked out of the program, Sheldon said.
"If she's held, I don't know when I'll get her back in. She needs treatment," Sheldon said.
On March 28, Santos pleaded guilty to a single count of unarmed robbery for the March 2012 daylight robbery of the Greylock Federal Credit Union office on Elm Street. She handed the teller a note and made off with $2,900 in cash.
Santos admitted her guilt to Judge John A. Agostini, who warned her not to squander her second chance at life before sentencing her to two years of probation, in line with a plea deal between the Berkshire District Attorney's Office and her attorney. At the time, First Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Paul J.
Wood is currently serving a 3 1/2- to five-year state prison sentence for the Greylock robbery and another in Boston.
A week after being sentenced, Santos left the residential treatment center she had been ordered to attend and went missing for two weeks.
Her attorney blamed the relapse on Santos' having her "first taste of freedom in a year," and being overwhelmed by her situation and having to "face her demons."
Sheldon told the court on Monday that she received an email from Santos on April 19 stating, "Please help me. I need help." Someone from Sheldon's office went to meet Santos and took her to the hospital because she was "in such a bad physical and emotional state," said the attorney. Santos was then sent to a locked treatment facility for a week and then returned to Berkshire County to deal with her legal issues.
"She turned herself in," Sheldon told the court.
After the probation department agreed to the move, Judge Daniel A. Ford ordered that Santos be sent to a treatment facility in Roxbury until her final probation hearing in May.