Innocent of machete, crowbar attack, brother says

Saturday June 11, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- The second of two brothers involved in a machete and crowbar fight with one another in May pleaded not guilty to charges from the incident during his arraignment in Central Berkshire District Court on Friday.

Paul D. Kwasniowski, in a wheelchair with bandages on both arms and his nose, told The Eagle he was innocent and planned to make sure his brother pays for his medical expenses.

The 55-year-old Pittsfield resident was involved in a dispute over a house -- located at 26 Williamsburg Terrace in Pittsfield -- he co-owns with his older brother, John V. Kwasniowski. Things turned bloody at the house May 18.

According to a police report, around 4 p.m. that day, Paul allegedly came up behind his older brother with a machete in one hand and a crowbar in the other and threatened to kill him. John, 59, was under the kitchen sink fixing a pipe at the time, according to a police report, but was able to wrestle the crowbar from his brother, which he then used to hit him in the head and hand until Paul dropped the machete.

Pittsfield Police Detective Thomas H. Harrington Jr., in his report, called it "one of the bloodiest scenes" he had encountered in his 25-year career.

John told the Eagle in May he was "heartbroken" over what happened, but added that he was attacked by his brother, whom he called "violent."

Paul said his brother's version of events was untrue: "I had nothing to do with the assault." He said he was going to have his brother's name "peeled off" the house's deed in order to pay for his medical expenses and all he has been put through.

Paul listed his injuries: a broken wrist, eight broken fingers, a broken nose and 50 staples in his head. He remains in a rehabilitation facility.

Both men have pleaded not guilty to the same charges -- assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. John was arraigned last month; Paul's arraignment was held until Friday because he had been in the hospital.

Paul, who is being represented by attorney Robert D. Sullivan Jr., was released on personal recognizance by Judge Fredric D. Rutberg on Friday and will be in court July 27 for a pre-trial hearing.

John, a Las Vegas resident, remains out on $1,000 bail and returns to court July 20.


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