PITTSFIELD -- A New York man was given time served after admitting to his role in a North Adams beating and larceny in January 2013.
Barton Jones, 33, of Troy, pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Tuesday to three charges related to a Jan. 4, 2013, attack on a 29-year-old North Adams man.
According to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Rachael Eramo, the man went to a multi-family residence to loan a female friend $50 and when he entered the building's front hall, Jones was waiting for him. Jones' co-defendant, Leonard Ellis, 43, and the woman stood at the top of the stairs. Jones blocked the exit, began punching the man and demanding money while Ellis came down the stairs with a knife in his hand.
The fight spilled into a neighbor's apartment with Jones continuing to punch the man in the face and telling Ellis "Poke him. Poke him," referring to the knife, according to the prosecutor.
During the incident, Ellis reached into the man's pocket and took $390 before he and Jones fled with the woman in tow, according to the a police report. The woman wasn't charged in connection with the incident. She said she had tried to stop the assault, according police.
The duo was arrested later that night in Troy, N.Y., after a traffic stop for following too closely behind another car.
At a previous hearing, Eramo conceded the victim was on heroin at the time and had given two statements to police and only mentioned the knife in the second interview.
Jones pleaded guilty to single counts of felony larceny over $250 and misdemeanor assault and assault and battery. The first two charges were reduced by the DA's Office from armed robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon.
Jones is still facing charges in New York, according to his attorney, David Pixley.
Eramo asked for a total of 21 months in jail on the charges, citing the nature of the incident and the defendant's record in New York, which mainly consists of narcotics related crimes. She said the victim was satisfied with the prosecution's sentence request.
Pixley presented a different version of the events. He told the court that his client admitted to a fist fight with the 29-year-old, but that the man was there to sell drugs.
Ellis "ran" the victim's pockets before they left and the woman set the meeting up. She then willingly left with Ellis and Jones, but later told police she was kidnapped before recanting that story, said the lawyer.
"There's much more to the story than meets the eye," he said.
Pixley said his client was a former star high school football player whose life was sidelined by drugs.
He asked for time served -- 17 months that Jones had been held awaiting the outcome of the case and unable to make bail.
Judge John A. Agostini agreed to the defense request since in either case Jones would be immediately eligible for parole, he said.
Agostini didn't believe Jones would change, but that he would likely be getting jail time in New York on his open charges. He said he hoped Jones would restrict his criminal activity to that state and stay out of Massachusetts.
Ellis pleaded guilty to charges in the case in March and was sentenced to two years in jail.
Jones told the court Pixley did a "great job" on his case.
The investigation was conducted by members of the North Adams Police Department and state police detectives assigned to the District Attorney's Office.
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