Given the choice between probation and jail, Pittsfield woman picks jail


PITTSFIELD -- A city woman, who admitted on Thursday to breaking into a neighbor's home, was given a choice by the judge: probation or jail. She chose jail.

Laurie Munger, 47, pleaded guilty in a Jury of Six session of Central Berkshire District Court to a single count of felony breaking and entering in the nighttime. She admitted to slipping into a neighbor's home last December and rifling through the woman's prescription pills while she was asleep.

According to a Pittsfield Police report, Kathleen Maynard told officers she was startled awake at about 1:45 a.m. and found Munger next to her bed looking through prescription bottles on her bedside table. Maynard had recently returned home from the hospital after hip replacement surgery and was prescribed painkillers.

While Maynard said she didn't find anything missing that night, she believed prescription pills had previously gone missing as had a present that had been under a Christmas tree. Munger was not charged in connection with those thefts.

"It's been very hard for me to trust people," Maynard told the court on Thursday, adding that she continued to feel unsafe in her own home.

The Berkshire District Attorney's Office asked for a 60-day jail sentence in the case, citing the defendant's criminal history.

Munger's attorney, Anthony Gianacopolous, told the court that his client suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and had been addicted to prescription pills at the time. The crime, he said, was driven by her need "to get a fix."

The attorney said that since that time Munger has gotten clean and has begun to turn her life around and was remorseful. He asked for a suspended sentence.

Judge Paul M. Vrabel gave Munger a choice: six months of probation or seven days in jail.

Munger chose to spend the next week in the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction. She was handcuffed and led away.


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