PITTSFIELD -- A 20-year-old city man was sentenced to six months in jail for forcing his way into his ex-girlfriend's apartment and putting a knife to her throat.

According to the Pittsfield Police, on Dec. 19, Vaughn Ashley Jr., of Third Street, kicked open the door of his ex-girlfriend's Maple Street home and brandished a knife. He had initially tried to pry open the door with another knife but the blade broke. He then forced his way into the 21-year-old's bedroom, where the woman and her friend were hiding and threatened her with the knife.

He also punched and stabbed a wall before being dragged out of the house by a friend, who was not charged in connection with the case, according to a police report.

At an earlier hearing, the ex-girlfriend testified that she had dated Ashley for about seven years, that the relationship had been "toxic" and both had gotten into physical altercations with one another in the past.

After a breakup with Ashley this past summer, she went to a women's shelter in Vermont and returned to Pittsfield in September, she said.

On the day leading up to the incident, she said she had been texting with Ashley and they had tentatively agreed to meet up later in the night, but when she learned he would be drinking, she stopped texting him back.

Early the next morning, while she was hanging out with friends at her house, Ashley showed up with a knife, she said.


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Ashley's attorney, Jill Sheldon, said he had been drunk on Four Loko, an alcoholic canned drink, at the time and that his behavior that early morning was "an anomaly."

According to Sheldon, just days before the incident, Ashley had been "jumped" at a party by friends of his ex-girlfriend and was cut on the face and back of the head. Additionally, the woman's friends had sent Ashley threatening texts, she said.

On Wednesday in Central Berkshire District Court, Ashley pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor assault and battery and to sufficient facts for a finding of guilt on felony assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and vandalizing property.

The Berkshire District Attor-
ney's Office reduced the charge of home invasion, which can't be handled at the district court level, to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Prosecutor Michael D'Angelo said it was "not a typical case" considering the defendant had no previous criminal record.

Sheldon told the court Ashley was "a young man who has learned his lesson."

Judge Paul M. Vrabel sentenced Ashley to six months at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction on the assault and battery charge and gave him a two-year continuation without a finding on the assault and battery with a dangerous weapon charge.

During that time Ashley must refrain from illegal drugs and alcohol and have no contact with the victim. If he stays out of trouble the charge will be dismissed; if he doesn't he can be sentenced to up to 21 2 years in jail. The vandalizing property charge was dismissed.

The judge's sentence was slightly different than the agreed upon recommendation between Sheldon and the DA's Office.

Ashley has already spent a little more than three months in jail after he was found to be dangerous at a previous hearing and held without bail. He will be credited with that time.

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