January trial set for Dalton man in armed robbery of elderly couple

This story was updated on Aug. 12, 2014 to clarify that Shane Hamilton is from Dalton.

PITTSFIELD -- An alleged heroin abuser accused of robbing a 73-year-old couple at knifepoint last spring is set to go to trial in January.

Shane D. Hamilton, 24, of Dalton, jumped into the back seat of a Lanesborough couple's car in the parking lot of the Price Chopper in Pittsfield and robbed them, according to Pittsfield Police. Both victims are now 74.

Hamilton allegedly waited until the couple had finished packing their groceries away and then slipped into the back seat of the vehicle and put a knife to the woman's throat, demanded money and credit cards and made off with between $70 and $100 in cash.

Hamilton was wearing sunglasses, a cap pulled low and the hood of his sweatshirt over his head in order to obscure his identity, police said.

The husband began honking his car horn to attract attention and Hamilton jumped out of the car, ran across the parking lot to a Hyundai Santa Fe and drove off, according to a police report. The husband was able to get the license plate number.

Police arrested Hamilton about 30 minutes later at his residence.

In Berkshire Superior Court before Judge Daniel A. Ford on Monday, attorneys in the case scheduled a final pretrial conference for Dec. 9, with the trial set for January.

Hamilton's attorney, Jill Sheldon, said she may be filing a motion to suppress statements her client allegedly made to police at the time of his arrest. Hamilton admitted he was a heroin addict and that he committed the crime, police said.

But the motion may be moot if a plea deal is reached in the case.

"It may be resolved short of trial," First Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello told the court.

The prosecutor said he and Sheldon have discussed numbers, but are still working toward a resolution.

Hamilton has pleaded not guilty to felony armed robbery while masked, armed breaking and entering into a vehicle in the daytime -- putting someone in fear, armed assault to murder on a person over 60, and assault with a dangerous weapon. He remains held at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction on $75,000 cash or $750,000 surety bail.

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