Citing phone records, Pittsfield man seeks new trial in 2003 assault


PITTSFIELD — A matter of 15 minutes could mean a difference of 7 to 12 years in a city man's prison sentence.

Ronald Kyse, who admitted to the assault of a woman in her apartment in June 2003, is seeking a new trial in the case.

Kyse, who was 25 at the time of the attack, pleaded guilty in 2004 to two counts of armed assault to murder, one count of mayhem, and one count of nighttime armed assault and burglary.

He admitted he was let in to the apartment of the victim, then 18, and attacked her with a knife and a paint brush before leaving. He was sentenced to 18 to 20 years in state prison on the armed assault charges and 25 to 30 years on the burglary charge.

During a hearing in Berkshire Superior Court on Wednesday, defense attorney James P. McKenna said newly acquired phone records in the case call the timeline of events into question.

The timeline is vital, he said, because if Kyse entered the home after 5:25 a.m., it would be considered a daytime crime, with potentially lower penalties than its nighttime counterpart.

McKenna said Kyse was let into the Parker Street residence by the victim's roommate.

In one statement, that roommate said she heard Kyse knocking at the door about 5:30 a.m., according to her bedroom clock, but she said that clock was set 15 minutes ahead, which would make Kyse's arrival closer to 5:15 a.m., legally considered nighttime at that time of year.

McKenna said phone records from that morning show a call to the victim's cellphone made by the roommate at 6:13 a.m. the same day, which backs up their claim they heard Kyse leave about 6:10 a.m.

He argued that, based on the phone records, it would appear the 6:10 a.m. time, which was taken from the same bedroom clock, was accurate.

McKenna said the phone records and the roommate's statement suggest there was not a 15-minute adjustment to the clock and Kyse arrived at the home at 5:30 a.m. or later, which would be considered daytime.

Kyse has appealed his sentence twice before on different grounds; once in 2008 and again in 2014. Both appeals were denied, according to court records.

McKenna told Judge Daniel Ford that his client should not have been charged with nighttime armed assault and burglary; Kyse is not contesting the other charges.

Ford took the matter under advisement.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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