Armed robbery suspect released after alleged victim is no-show in court

Wednesday January 9, 2013

PITTSFIELD -- A 29-year-old man’s court case on armed robbery and assault charges was dismissed Tuesday when the alleged victim didn’t show up for the trial.

John L. Zelinski, 29, of Hillcrest Avenue, has been in jail on $50,000 surety bail awaiting the outcome of the case. He was released following the dismissal of his case at Central Berkshire District Court.

The prosecution was ready to try Zelinski on charges stemming from the alleged robbery of an acquaintance at knife-point in September.

Zelinski originally had faced felony armed robbery and armed assault to rob charges, but those were later reduced in order for the case to be prosecuted on the district court level.

According to a Pittsfield Police report, Ronald Schneider was walking with Zelinski on Linden Street on Sept. 10, when Zelinski took the man into a yard near the Hot Dog Ranch, pulled out a knife and threatened him if he didn’t give him his money.

Schneider told police he was robbed of $300 in cash.

Zelinski said he was with his father at a snowmobile swap meet in Otis at the time of the alleged encounter. Zelinski’s attorney, Marc C. Vincelette Sr., said he had three witnesses ready to testify and corroborate his client’s story on Tuesday.

At an earlier court appearance, Vincelette told the court that the accusations against Zelinski stemmed from an unpaid debt to Schneider and an argument over a television set. The two men were neighbors, said the attorney.

On Tuesday, the prosecution was unable to proceed with the case when Schneider failed to show. Judge Paul M. Vrabel dismissed the charges.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:,
or (413) 496-6249.
On Twitter: @ BETheAmelinckx


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