Thursday January 17, 2013

PITTSFIELD -- A city man who is already facing charges for allegedly spitting on a neighbor during a quarrel about squirrels is being held in jail without bail after racking up another charge for threatening neighbors with a knife over complaints about his music, police said.

Wilfredo Morales, 42, of Adam Street, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in Central Berkshire District Court to a single count of felony assault with a dangerous weapon in connection with a neighbor dispute that police said got out of control.

According to Pittsfield Police, at about 5 p.m. Wednesday, John Toromino, 33, and Jillian Tatro, 29, were settling in to watch a movie, but were being bothered by Morales’ loud music from the apartment above.

Loud enough to vibrate the ceiling in the apartment, Toromino and Tatro turned the television volume up louder, which was answered with an escalation in the volume from upstairs -- along with an earth-shaking noise they believed was being made by their neighbor jumping up and down.

The shaking caused "the glass on their chandelier to smash onto the living room floor," according to the police report.

The two then went to knock on Morales’ door. They told police that Morales burst out with a steak knife in his hand and came at Toromino.

Morales denied having a knife. He said he was scared of his neighbor’s pitbull and surmised the shaking noise came not from his jumping up and down, but rather because he was dancing.

Police did not recover a knife.

On Wednesday, Morales had his bail revoked because of the case that’s pending against him.

Morales can be held for up to 60 days. After that, he will have to come up with $500 cash or $5,000 surety bail to be released.

Judge Paul M. Vrabel cited Morales’ record, which includes 26 prior convictions, as one of the reasons for the bail revocation.

The earlier case stems from another neighbor dispute from March when Morales was living on Second Street.

According to a police report, Morales spat in a woman’s face and threatened her because her mother had been feeding squirrels.

That case is scheduled to go to trial in February.

"The squirrels attack me, and look at me and twitch their tails," he allegedly yelled before spitting on the woman.

His attorney David C. Cafarelli said he believed the case would be successfully defended if it "goes to trial at all."

Toromino said he never brought his dog upstairs.

Morales is scheduled to be back in court Feb. 22.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
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On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx