No finding of guilt for Pittsfield man in alleged drunken attack


PITTSFIELD -- A city man police say drunkenly attacked his family and threatened them with a knife had his charges continued without a finding of guilt.

Collin Gardner, 27, of Daniels Avenue, was arrested just after midnight July 5 after police found him sitting on top of his 51-year-old stepfather with a knife in his hand while Gardner's mother, 55, struggled to hold on to her son's arm, according to Pittsfield Police.

He also pushed his mother into a bathtub, put a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her, police said. He was taken into custody without incident.

According to the report, all three family members had been drinking that night.

On Wednesday, Gardner appeared with his attorney David Pixley and pleaded to facts sufficient for a finding of guilt on four charges related to that case, including two charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery and witness intimidation.

Gardner also admitted to sufficient facts in a prior case in which the prosecution alleged he violated a restraining order involving the mother of his child and hit her with a shoe. In that case a charge of assault and battery with
a dangerous weapon was reduced to misdemeanor assault and battery.

Pixley asked the court to continue all the charges without a finding of guilt, pointing to the weakness of the earlier case that came by private complaint rather than through a police investigation and the fact that Gardner had no criminal record. He said Gardner's memory of the July 4-5 incident was clouded because he was drunk at the time.

Before the arrest, Gardner was "a working member of society," the attorney told the court.

He asked that most of the charges be dismissed the same day and the others be continued for three months.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Kelly M. Kemp, who called the facts of the case "troublesome," said the defendant was at a crossroads and has "alcohol, anger and violence issues."

She asked the court to sentence Gardner to a total of six months in jail with 90 days to be served and the rest of the time suspended for a year, during which time the defendant would be on probation.

According to Kemp, Gardner's mother was "minimizing what happened" that night. The prosecutor said Gardner's ex-girlfriend wanted the "max" sentence for the defendant.

Judge Margaret R. Guzman gave Gardner a continuation without a finding of guilt for six months on one count of assault with a dangerous weapon during which time he must refrain from drinking alcohol and attend the Community Corrections program. The other charges were continued without a finding of guilt for three months.

If Gardner abides by the conditions and stays out of trouble his charges will be dismissed at the end of the probation period.

The judge, when sentencing Gardner, told him there were "concerns" about his "escalating behavior."

He had been held in jail since his arrest July 5.


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