Man held without bail for alleged pipe attack

Tuesday August 21, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A 37-year-old man accused of using a metal pipe to strike a person and smash windows is being held without bail following his arraignment Monday in Central Berkshire District Court.

James Kimpel-Phibbs, who is on federal probation for drug and gun convictions, pleaded not guilty to single counts of felony assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, breaking and entering in the nighttime, vandalism and malicious damage to a motor vehicle.

According to police and prosecutors, on Friday at about 11:30 p.m., Kimpel-Phibbs, apparently enraged about having to do a favor for his girlfriend, 24-year-old Samantha Paige, smashed the side window and front windshield of a Ford truck belonging to her friend and hit another of her friends in the arm with a metal pipe.

Afterward, he allegedly smashed the glass out of a front storm door and entered the apartment where his girlfriend was hiding from him.

Paige told police that she had gone over to her friends' apartment on Burbank Street earlier that day after arguing with Kimpel-Phibbs. Just before the incident, she had called and asked him to bring over her purse.

Kimpel-Phibbs allegedly sped by the residence at 40 mph and tossed the purse out the window before returning to the area, jumping out of his vehicle and screaming, "Who wants some?" He then began swinging the pipe at the truck and hit 30-year-old Vincent Hottel, who suffered minor injuries in the attack, police said.

While awaiting arraignment after being taken into custody by Pittsfield police, Kimpel-Phibbs twice smeared feces on the floor and walls of his cell, according to a police report. A security camera showed him "ranting and raving" on topics of a religious nature, the report stated.

Assistant District Attorney Laila Atta asked for $5,500 bail in the case, citing the defendant's "odd" behavior after the "very disturbing" attack. She also noted his criminal record.

In 2008, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute and possession of a firearm, Kimpel-Phibbs was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, followed by five years of probation. His probation, which ends in 2014, included a provision that he participate in mental health and drug treatment programs.

"He's in crisis," said his attorney, Joseph G. Vosit, asking that Kimpel-Phibbs be released on personal recognizance so he could seek mental health services.

Judge Rita S. Koenigs ordered the defendant held without bail until after he receives a mental health evaluation by a court clinician to determine whether he is competent to stand trial. Kimpel-Phibbs is scheduled to be back in court today.


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