PITTSFIELD -- A North Adams man has been sentenced to up to five years in state prison for stabbing an acquaintance nine times.

Mario R. Babbs, 27, stabbed Cole DeSanty in Babbs’ Brook Terrace apartment on the morning of June 2, 2012, after accusing DeSanty of stealing $600 from his wallet, according to police and prosecutors.

Babbs had borrowed DeSanty’s car the night before and after returning the vehicle called DeSanty, 29, to say he had lost his wallet, according to First Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello. DeSanty said he looked in the car and couldn’t find it. After Babbs located the wallet -- allegedly minus the money -- when he searched the car, he asked the man into his room and then stabbed him nine times with a steak knife. DeSanty was able to escape the home and seek help from passers by on Houghton Street. DeSanty denied he took the money.

Police said the wounds were life threatening and included a severed fifth rib, a punctured left lung, internal bleeding and compromised left side hearing and vision.

DeSanty, in a written victim impact statement, called the attack an "unspeakable crime" and said due to a wound to his neck he only has the use of one vocal cord and can’t sing or raise his voice. He also has problems with his left hand due to having the tendons cut and he suffers from nerve damage, among other problems.

After his arrest Babbs was held as a dangerous person without bail.


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He was later released on $5,000 cash bail, but failed to show up for a court hearing in March and was arrested in Northampton on a warrant. He has been in custody since that time.

On Wednesday in Berkshire Superior Court, Caccaviello and Babbs’ attorney, Springfield-based Terrence M. Dunphy, presented a joint recommendation of at least four years and no more than five years in state prison on the charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury. A charge of armed assault to murder was dismissed at the request of the DA’s Office.

The maximum sentence for the assault to murder charge is 20 years in prison; the maximum for the other charge is a decade.

The prosecutor said the victim was in agreement with the resolution.

The case was set for trial this month.

Dunphy said his client was an honorably discharged U.S. Army veteran who had been injured during a training in Korea and is disabled. He said Babbs had no criminal record to speak of. Babbs told the court he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Judge John A. Agostini sentenced Babbs to at least four years and no more than five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction in line with the joint request.

Babbs was credited with 329 days he spent in jail awaiting the outcome of his case.

The investigation was conducted by members of the North Adams Police Department and the Berkshire Detective Unit.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:

aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com

or (413) 496-6249.

On Twitter: @BETheAmelinckx