PITTSFIELD >> A city man who beat up his girlfriend and then tried to forge the name of a clerk magistrate has been sentenced to two years in jail on assault and forgery charges.

Jerry Mitchell, 48, of North Pearl Street, was arrested May 16 after punching his girlfriend in the face and stomach and throwing her to the ground after an argument, according to a report by the Pittsfield Police Department.

While Mitchell was awaiting the disposition of that case and another one, he learned that his monthly check from the Veterans Administration was blocked because of his legal difficulties, prosecutors said.

So Mitchell forged the name of Pittsfield District Court Clerk Magistrate Christopher Speranzo on a letter saying his legal difficulties had been cleared up.

Unfortunately, according to Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Clark, Mitchell signed the letter "John P. Walsh."

"John Walsh is not the clerk magistrate," Clark said, noting he may have been thinking of former longtime probation officer John P. Walsh.

Mitchell pleaded guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Wednesday to forgery of a document and uttering, as well as several assault charges, including an assault while on probation for previous attacks.

Judge William A. Rota sentenced him to two years in the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.