Arson suspect not guilty


GREENFIELD -- A 63-year-old Great Barrington man accused of setting fire to two buildings and attempting to burn down several more in town in June 2011 was found not guilty by reason of a lack of criminal responsibility on Friday.

David A. Pixley Sr. has bipolar disorder and has been in and out of mental health facilities since his arrest on 10 charges on June 23, 2011, a day after setting fire to the Lee Bank building and Barrington Outfitters buildings located in downtown Great Barrington.

Police said they also found evidence of attempted arson at several other locations -- Gypsy Joint, Toole Agency Insurance Co., Kwik Print, the Foster Hardware building and the Tune Street building. The tires of three vehicles had also been doused with ignitable fluids, according to police.

Pixley has a 36-year history of mental illness that was being controlled through medication. But problems surfaced after his medications were changed not long before the fires, according to information from earlier court hearings.

On Friday in Franklin Superior Court in Green field, Judge John A. Agostini ordered Pixley be sent to a secure mental health facility. It was a jury-waived trial.

According to Pixley's attorney, Nathaniel K. Green, where his client would be sent and for how long was still being worked out.

"We should have a better idea next week," he said.

The hearing was held before Agostini because the judge was "very familiar with the case," said the attorney. Agostini is currently sitting in Franklin Superior Court.

Pixley was facing single counts of burning a house and burning a building, five counts of attempted arson of a building, and three counts of attempted arson of a motor vehicle.

The case was prosecuted by First Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello.

The investigation was conducted by members of the Great Barrington Police Department, the Office of the Fire Marshal, Mass achusetts State Police and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


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