Thursday July 12, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A 31-year-old North Adams man was sentenced to 21 2 years in jail for sexually assaulting upon a woman and her granddaughter.

Jermaine Russell, 31, of North Adams, admitted assaulting the women, ages 64 and 18 at the time, at the grandmother's Ashland Street apartment in North Adams on Dec. 28, 2010.

According to police and prosecutors, Russell and David T. Beckett, 49, of Pittsfield, knocked on the grandmother's door and asked to use the phone. They pushed past the grandaughter to get inside.

The defendants made lewd comments to the teen before molesting her and her grandmother, who was recovering from a recent heart attack. The victims did not know either man.

The men left when the grandmother threatened to call police. Both were arrested by North Adams Police as they left the apartment building.

Both men were charged with two counts each of indecent assault and battery and indecent assault and battery on a person 60 years or older and single counts of entering without breaking at night.

At the time of his arrest, Russell had just finished serving close to three months in jail on a drug charge. He was identified by police as a suspected member of the Nine Trey Gangsters, a subset of the Bloods street gang.

Wednesday, in a plea deal between Russell's attorney, David Pixley, and the Berkshire District Attorney's Office, Russell was allowed to plead to the lesser charges of assault and battery. The charge of entering without breaking was dismissed at the request of the D.A.'s office.

Russell will not be required to register as a sex offender.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Rachael Eramo said both victims had been in formed of, and agreed with, the plea deal.

Judge John A. Agostini or dered Russell to serve 21 2 years in the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction. Russell has close to 19 months credit from the time he has sat in jail awaiting the outcome of the case and will serve just under a year more.

"It was a good outcome based on all the factors," said Pixley after the sentencing.

In May, Becket pleaded guilty to four of five of the original charges and was sentenced to between three and four years in state prison. He was ordered to register as a sex offender with the state.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6249.
On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx.