Man admits to sufficient facts in Lee break-ins
PITTSFIELD -- Charges stemming from several motor vehicle break-ins in South County will be dismissed against a 20-year-old Pittsfield man if he stays out of trouble for a year.
Monday in Central Berkshire District Court, Freedom Brown admitted to sufficient facts, which means he didn't plead guilty but acknowledged prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him. The charges could be reinstated if there is a probation violation within the next year.
Judge Fredric D. Rutberg also ordered Brown to pay $87 in restitution.
According to police, Brown and two other men, Shaun Marchand, 21, and Solomon Jones III, 20, also of Pittsfield, went on a month-long crime spree in Lee beginning in September 2011, breaking into unlocked vehicles, stealing credit cards and then illegally using the cards to make purchases of between $600 and $700.
Brown was facing three counts of larceny by credit card and multiple counts of breaking and entering into motor vehicles at night.
Brown's attorney, Harry E. Conklin, told the court there were gray areas as to exactly what his client's role was in the break-ins, but they believed it was in Brown's best interest to take the plea deal.
Brown was charged under the theory of joint venture, meaning he could be considered equally culpable for the crimes as his codefendants.
Conklin said Brown has stayed out of trouble in the year since being charged.
The defense attorney asked for a shorter probation period for Brown, but the judge instead went with the prosecutor's request.
The Berkshire District Attorney's Office said their plea offer was partially based on the defendant's lack of a criminal record.
Brown's codefendant, Marchand, also had his case continued without a finding of guilt after a change of plea in Southern Berkshire District Court to similar charges. He too was made to pay restitution in the case.
Jones' case remains pending. He is also facing unrelated charges in Berkshire Superior Court. Police allege in that case that he and another man stabbed and robbed a teen in Pittsfield in May. He has pleaded not guilty in both cases.