PITTSFIELD -- A Pittsfield man is being held on $5,000 cash bail after he and three other teens allegedly pistol-whipped two men and stole a wallet on Wednesday night.
Terry Cook-Harrison, 19, of Pittsfield, along with three juveniles, two of whom are female, attacked a 52-year-old man and his 34-year-old son in the area of Fourth Street and Silver Lake Boulevard about 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to Pittsfield police,
The complaining witnesses told police the group approached them as they were walking near the railroad bridge on Fourth Street, told the men this was their neighborhood, pulled out what they believed were handguns and then "pistol-whipped their faces" and stole the older man's wallet, according to a probable cause report.
The two men allegedly had red marks and scratches on their faces, but no other wounds.
A short time later, police approached a "large group of juvenile parties that fit the given description" and arrested four people.
Cook-Harrison allegedly told police he was with the three juveniles when one of the two older men began swearing and aggressively ran at them. He said he punched one of them in the side of the head, one of the juveniles pulled a pellet gun and pointed it at the men and then he and the others fought with them, according to the report.
Three pellet guns were confiscated from the group, said police. No wallet was found.
Cook-Harrison pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Thursday to one count of armed robbery and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, all felonies.
His attorney, Glenn W. Keiderling Jr., told the court the prosecution's case would be hard to prove, that the alleged victims ran from police when they were approached and were recognized by at least one of the officers "from past dealings."
The attorney told the court the men's injuries were not consistent with being pistol-whipped and that there were identity issues in the case.
His client was allowed to stand behind a door during the arraignment to shield his identity because Keiderling believes this may be a case of "misidentification."
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Jason Lederman asked the court to hold Cook-Harrison on $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety bail citing the nature of the charges and the fact the defendant is originally from Milwaukee, Wis. The prosecutor believes Cook-Harrison "will not return to court" on his own.
Keiderling said his client has been living in Pittsfield with his family for the last two years, holds down a job and even does volunteer work at a local church.
"He has no Massachusetts record," the lawyer said. "He's working and trying to do the right thing."
Judge Paul M. Vrabel ordered Cook-Harrison held at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction in lieu of $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety bail.
No information was available on the cases of the 14- and 16-year-old females or the 15-year-old male. They were charged with the same crimes as Cook-Harrison but because they are juveniles, information on their cases is not publicly available.
Another man, Christopher Doucette, 20, was arrested Wednesday evening by police during the armed robbery investigation and was charged with carrying a dangerous weapon.
Police said Doucette was stopped and discovered to have brass knuckles on him.
He was not part of the alleged armed robbery.
He pleaded not guilty to the single felony charged and was released on personal recognizance. He is due back in court in April.
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