PITTSFIELD -- Two Connecticut men who allegedly stabbed and robbed someone last year in Great Barrington will receive back-to-back trials next month.

Kijuame Taft, 33, and Deon "Ace" Allen, 22, both of Waterbury, were attempting to collect a drug debt when they set upon Aaron Strampach on Depot Street in Great Barrington in the early morning hours of Sept. 15, 2012, according to Great Barrington police.

The attack came on the heels of a drug deal in Housatonic, according to a police report.

Strampach, 26, of Sheffield, was stabbed twice in the arm and once in the abdomen. He was treated at the hospital for his wounds and was released the next day.

Taft and Allen were arrested the next month in Connecticut and were returned to Berkshire County to face charges of armed robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and witness intimidation.

Both men have denied the charges.

On Thursday in Berkshire Superior Court before Judge Daniel A. Ford, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Richard M. Locke said Allen would be the first to go to trial early next month, followed by Taft.

He believes each trial should take between three and five days.

The trials were severed because the two defendants are pointing the finger at each other, according to court documents. It doesn't appear they will be taking the stand against one another.

Both Thomas J. Donohue Jr.


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, representing Allen, and Taft's lawyer, David Pixley, told the court that no plea deals are in the works and they would be taking the cases to trial.

Allen, who is held on $2,500 cash bail, remains in custody. His co-defendant is out on $5,000 bail and had his presence waived for Thursday's hearing.

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