Bail denied in shotgun blast case

Friday June 29, 2012

GREAT BARRINGTON -- The man accused of putting a shotgun to his roommate's temple before it discharged and blew a hole in the ceiling has been ordered held for up to 90 days because of the threat he poses to the community.

The ruling was made against James K. Norris, 54, of Montgomery Road in Great Barrington, on Thursday following a dangerousness hearing in Southern Berkshire District Court.

Norris is due back in court July 30 for a pretrial hearing, but can be held in the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction for up to three months, according to a ruling from Judge Frederic D. Rutberg.

In his ruling, Rutberg said there is "clear and convincing" evidence that Norris held a shotgun to his roommate's temple.

The incident occurred June 21, and the gun went off when the roommate tried to push the barrel away from his head, according to a police report. The roommate told police that Norris was extremely intoxicated as he held the gun to his head and was saying things like, "You screwed me over in the past," in relation to the pair's previous living arrangement.

Rutberg's ruling cited the nature of the crime as well as Norris' record of alcohol abuse connected to violent behavior and avoidance of law enforcement.

Between 2008 and 2010, Norris was found guilty of a number of crimes, including disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

In connection with the latest incident, Norris is facing one count each of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, carrying a firearm without a license, and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building.


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