Bail set for trio who allegedly "exacted justice" in kidnapping, abduction incident in Lee, Pittsfield


PITTSFIELD >> Three defendants "exacted justice in their specific way" last month when they carried out a kidnapping plot over a drug deal gone bad, according to a prosecutor in the case.

And while a judge agreed to set bail for the three during Tuesday's dangerousness hearing, he said those involved could face "years, if not decades, in prison."

Emanuel "Manny" Diaz, 23, Dashaan Golden, 22, both of Lee and Kamara Pellot, 24, of Pittsfield, had been held without bail following their arraignments last week amid accusations they participated in the incident.

On Jan. 26, two men were robbed and attacked, with one forced at gunpoint into a vehicle before being taken to a basement and beaten and tortured, according to police reports. A gun was fired during a struggle in the initial attack, though no one was hit.

In arguing for the trio's continued detention, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Andrew Giarolo on Tuesday offered a new twist in the case: at least two assault-style automatic weapons were recovered during the execution of a search warrant in the investigation.

He said after the hearing he was not at liberty to discuss where they were allegedly found or how they might be connected to the case.

The revelation drew quick objections from lawyers representing the trio because that information was not part of any discovery evidence with which they'd been provided up to that point.

The attorneys also raised objections to the state relying on information contained in affidavits in the case because those 70-plus pages of paperwork were only provided to them within an hour or two of Tuesday's hearing.

Giarolo told Judge Paul Smyth that he had requested those affidavits from investigators after the defendants were arraigned last Thursday but only received them Tuesday.

All three attorneys said the state had no direct evidence linking their respective clients to the incident.

The two alleged victims say they were lured to a remote location in Lee and attacked by a group of armed men. The men forced one of the victims into a car at gunpoint, took him to a basement in Pellot's building and beat and tortured him before eventually releasing him, prosecutors allege.

Pellot's attorney, Timothy Shugrue, said her apartment does not have direct access to the basement and there is nothing in any of the evidence collected thus far that indicates she had any role in the alleged drug deal or kidnapping.

Her bail was set at $500.

Diaz's attorney, Raymond Jacoub, argued that the state had not met its burden to demonstrate there are no conditions under which his client could be released to assure the safety of the public.

Jacoub noted in the time between Jan. 26 and Diaz's arrest on Feb. 11, there had been no contact between him and any of the alleged victims or potential witnesses and the only evidence of his client's involvement so far is an implication by another co-defendant in the case.

Attorney Edward St. John IV, representing Golden, said that same co-defendant, Jay P. Strezynski, 25, of Lee, also implicated his client and there was also a lack of other evidence linking him to the allegations.

Bail for Diaz was set at $1,000; Golden's was set at $500.

Diaz, Pellot and Golden each face one count of kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon and committing a felony using a firearm. Golden and Pellot also were charged with armed robbery, with Diaz facing a count of conspiracy to violate drug laws by selling marijuana.

Strezynski's bail was set at $10,000 at his arraignment in January. He faces charges of armed robbery (two counts), assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, intimidation of a witness and larceny of a motor vehicle.

A fifth defendant in the case, Matthew Rivera, of Lee was arraigned Friday and had bail set at $200 on charges of kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Giarolo said the cases were "almost guaranteed," to be submitted to a grand jury for consideration to be moved into Berkshire Superior Court.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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