Charges dropped in Pittsfield gas nozzle-attack case after witness fails to testify
PITTSFIELD -- A 22-year-old city man accused of attacking someone with a gas pump nozzle last year had his charges dismissed after the complaining witness failed to show up for trial.
On Thursday during a Jury of Six session of Central Berkshire District Court, Andrew Burdick appeared for trial with his attorney John A. Bernardo to face five charges related to an alleged attack last April. Police said Burdick used a gas pump nozzle as a weapon, hitting a 22-year-old man and damaging the Jeep he was driving.
The Berkshire District Attorney's Office asked that four of the charges be dismissed -- assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, vandalizing property and assault with a dangerous weapon -- since they were unable to proceed after the alleged victim and his 22-year-old girlfriend, who had been a witness, didn't show up for the trial.
Burdick pleaded to sufficient facts for a finding of guilt on a charge of resisting arrest and had the case continued without a finding of guilt by Judge Paul M. Vrabel. The charge was dismissed the same day after Burdick paid $500 in fees.
According to Pittsfield Police, on the evening of April 15, 2012, Burdick, while working as a service station attendant at Hill Gas Station on East Street, damaged a Jeep and then hit the driver in the arm and nose with a gas hose nozzle after the two men exchanged words.
The man suffered a laceration to his left hand and a swollen nose, according to a probable cause report, but refused medical attention at the time.
Police said Burdick locked himself in the gas station after the confrontation and when police arrived, he refused to come out.
The police officers, their weapons drawn, attempted to coax Burdick out. Once they gained access to the gas station, they Tased Burdick three times according to the report, because he refused to comply with their orders.
At a prior court appearance, Bernardo said his client was unable to comply with the officers' demands since he was incapacitated by the first jolt of electricity from their Tasers. The attorney said that the other man had been the initial aggressor and that his client has Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, among other associated problems.
This is the second case that ended in dismissal of charges against Burdick. In November, he had two charges of assault with a dangerous weapon dismissed by a district court judge following a bench trial. In that case, on Jan. 23, 2012, Burdick allegedly threatened to cut and shoot someone who had chased him from a city gas station because the man's girlfriend believed Burdick had been stalking her.
Judge Bethzaida Sanabria-Vega dismissed the charges after finding that the other man had been the aggressor, that Burdick had no weapons on him and that the two complaining witnesses' stories didn't match up.
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