Man gets probation in machete, crowbar battle with his brother in Pittsfield

Friday November 2, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A day after his brother had his case dismissed, a man involved in a crowbar and machete fight with his sibling pleaded to facts sufficient for a finding of guilt on Thursday in Central Berkshire District Court and has his case continued without a finding for three months.

As long as John Kwasniowski, 61, of Las Vegas, doesn’t get into trouble, his charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon will be dismissed at the end of January.

On Wednesday, John and his brother, Paul, 56, who was himself set for trial on a similar charge, invoked their Fifth Amendment privilege of self-incrimination. Paul had his case dismissed.

The brothers were involved in a fight with one another involving a machete and a crowbar on May 18, 2011, in the home they co-owned. The fight ended with Paul suffering severe wounds including a broken wrist, fingers and nose, as well as a large gash to the head, for which he was hospitalized for several days, police said.

According to a police report, the fight broke out when Paul came up behind his older brother with a machete in one hand and a crowbar in the other and threatened to kill him. John wrestled the crowbar from his brother and used it to hit him in the head and hand until Paul dropped the machete, according to a police report.

On Thursday, John’s attorney, Timothy J. Shugrue, said Paul, whom he called "transient," had been the aggressor in the incident. That allegation had been denied by Paul before his case was dismissed.

Shugrue called his client an "outstanding citizen" who manages a casino in Las Vegas.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Daniel Hespeler told the court on Thursday the joint recommendation of three months of administrative probation and no finding of guilt came about due to the state of the case after Paul’s refusal to testify against his brother.

Judge Jacklyn M. Connly agreed to the recommendation and ordered that John have no contact with his brother.

According to Shugrue, the issue of the home is being dealt with in probate court and will soon be heading to auction.


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