PITTSFIELD -- A city woman is being held on $1,000 bail after allegedly slashing a pregnant neighbor in the head with a sharp object over a dispute about noise.

Shontina Rankin, 28, of North Street, allegedly slashed her 20-year-old neighbor in the head about 4:30 p.m., according to Pittsfield Police. When officers arrived they found the woman bleeding profusely from her forehead and believed the wound was caused by a knife or other cutting implement.

The victim, who is three months pregnant, believed Rankin had used a box cutter. No weapon was recovered.

Police said the defendant wouldn't allow officers to enter her home and kept shouting that it was "self defense." Police eventually forced their way into the woman's apartment and arrested her.

According to the victim, Rankin had cursed at her and her sister for being too close to her car. The woman later rang Rankin's doorbell to try to get her to stop "yodeling and stomping continuously." Rankin then charged down the stairs at her, told her "is this what you want, b---h?" before slashing her in the head. The woman said she told Rankin that she was pregnant.

The victim was treated at Berkshire Medical Center and later released.

Rankin, through her attorney, Marc C. Vincelette Sr., says she struck the woman in self defense and didn't use any weapon.

Rankin alleged she was praying and singing hymns, which was the cause of the troubles between herself and the two women. They began throwing snow on her car and keying the vehicle. When she went downstairs to confront them, the complaining witness threw snow in her face and pulled her hair, and she struck the woman in self defense, according to Rankin.

Rankin pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Thursday to a single count of aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The Berkshire District Attorney's Office, citing the violent nature of the charge and Rankin's past record of failing to show for court, asked for $2,500 cash bail.

Vincelette asked that his client be released on $200 bail.

Judge Fredric D. Rutberg ordered Rankin held at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction on $1,000 bail. He said he based his decision on the violent nature of the alleged attack and the defendant's record.

Rankin is scheduled to be back in court Jan. 21.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:

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