No bail for Peru man accused of stabbing man while he hung onto moving truck
NORTH ADAMS — A Peru man accused of stabbing another man multiple times during a violent altercation last week has been ordered held without the right to bail.
Dylan Litchfield, 23, allegedly stabbed Thomas Peterson, 27, while he was hanging onto a truck driven by his brother, Austin Litchfield, 19, on Bush Road in Windsor on June 13. Both brothers are facing attempted murder charges.
Peterson told officers that he and two others had driven to meet the brothers to retrieve keys that they allegedly had stolen from his sister, Austin's former girlfriend, in a separate altercation two days prior, according to police reports.
Testifying during a dangerousness hearing on Wednesday, with his arm still heavily bandaged, Peterson said the two parties met on Bush Road. He said when he walked up to the truck Dylan Litchfield began punching him.
Peterson told the court that he struck back, but driver Austin Litchfield began to drive away — with Peterson holding on from outside — at speeds in excess of 40 mph. As Peterson held on, Dylan Litchfield allegedly began to stab him, including with blows to the face and head.
The victim said he fell off of the truck at a high rate of speed. On the ground, he said he saw an unidentified and unfamiliar man step out of the Litchfields' truck with a gun in hand.
The man returned to the truck, which sped off, after Peterson's friends caught up in their vehicle, he testified. Peterson's friends drove him to Berkshire Medical Center, where he was treated for extensive injuries to his arm and medical personnel alerted police.
In cross-examination of Peterson, defense attorneys for the brothers suggested that one of Peterson's friends had a gun and that Peterson had planned to assault the brothers. The friend, who now is in a relationship with Austin Litchfield's former girlfriend and Peterson's sister, was at the center of the dispute between the two camps.
Attorney Mark Pasquariello questioned Peterson's narrative, noting that there were few witnesses to the alleged stabbing, and called attention to Peterson's criminal history.
"What this is ultimately going to boil down to is Mr. Peterson's word versus one or both of the defendants'," Pasquariello said.
Attorney Ed St. John III, representing Austin Litchfield, directly asked Peterson is he was armed with a gun; Peterson denied the allegation. St. John also called attention to Peterson's affiliation with an Aryan prison gang, which the attorney characterized as violent.
Dylan Litchfield's girlfriend testified that he had texted earlier that day with a message that someone had pointed a gun at him.
Both defense attorneys painted Peterson as the aggressor, approaching the Litchfields' truck.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Royce requested both brothers be held without the right to bail for up to 120 days, stating that it was clear the only reason they met with Peterson was to "fight, and not just to fistfight."
"They went as a group ... to injure and seriously, seriously hurt someone," Royce said. "Clearly the assault on Mr. Peterson was meant to, based on the stabbing, kill him."
No charges have been filed specific to the unidentified man who allegedly brandished a gun at Peterson before fleeing in the Litchfields' truck.
Northern Berkshire District Court Judge Paul H. Smyth ordered Dylan Litchfield be held on dangerousness, but he allowed Austin Litchfield to be released on $1,000 cash bail. The conditions of Austin Litchfield's release include GPS monitoring and staying away from several of the involved parties.
The Litchfield brothers are next due to appear in court on July 27 for a pretrial conference.
Dylan Litchfield has pleaded not guilty to single counts of mayhem and attempted murder. Austin Litchfield has pleaded not guilty to a single count of attempted murder.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.
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