Judge quashes Pittsfield man's plea deal

Tuesday June 12, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A Pittsfield man who brought a stolen pistol to his high school in 2010 had planned on Monday to admit he violated his probation in the case until the judge nixed the plea deal.

In Berkshire Superior Court, Judge Mary Lou Rup told Rayquan B. Watford that she would be giving him a two-year jail sentence, instead of the less than three-month sentence his attorney and the county Probation Department had agreed. He pulled his plea and is now scheduled for a probation violation hearing at the end of the month.

Watford, 20, has been held at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction since March 19 on a series of alleged probation violations, from missing a number of scheduled probation meetings to coming up positive for marijuana and alcohol use. The plea deal asked for time served and that his probation be terminated.

Watford was placed on probation in November 2010 as part of his sentence for stealing a 9 mm semiautomatic Beretta and a .380-caliber semiautomatic Colt Pistol from the father of a former girlfriend. A few days later, Watford brought one of the guns to Taconic High School where it was discovered by the police.

In that case, Watford pleaded guilty to eight charges, including larceny of a firearm, carrying a firearm on school grounds, possession of a firearm and ammunition without a permit, and removing a serial number from a firearm. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years of probation with a suspended two-year sentence.

On Monday, Rup commented on the disposition of that case.

"He got quite a break on these charges," she said.

Watford's attorney, David M. Pixley, argued that while his client "didn't do everything right" during his probation stint, he did get his GED and enter college.

"He's 20 now," Pixley told the court, "and now able to follow through with better choices."

"I can't go along with this recommendation. It's not appropriate," said Rup, adding that she believed Watford should serve "a substantially longer sentence."

A final probation violation hearing has been scheduled for June 22.


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