Pittsfield man arraigned in fatal beating held on $250,000 bail

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PITTSFIELD — The man accused of fatally beating a city resident earlier this month was held on $250,000 bail on Wednesday.

During his brief arraignment in Central Berkshire District Court on a single count of manslaughter, Brian Signor, 27, had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf.

Bail was set without prejudice in an agreement between his attorney, Jill Sheldon, and prosecutors.

Signor is accused of killing Joseph Wirtes, 44, in Wirtes' apartment above the North Street YMCA in the early hours of September. When police, fire, and emergency medical services arrived on the scene at about 2:22 a.m., they found Wirtes unconscious and bleeding.

Wirtes later died at Berkshire Medical Center due to what a state medical examiner said was blunt trauma, according to a police report written Tuesday by Pittsfield Police Det. Timothy Koenig. The medical examiner classified Wirtes' death as a homicide.

A witness told police at the scene that she was in Wirtes' apartment with he and Brian Signor, but said that she left for a short time. When she returned, Signor was gone and Wirtes was injured.

A neighbor in the building also reported hearing a fight occur inside Wirtes' apartment at about 1:45 a.m., according to the police report.

Police also obtained security footage from the YMCA that shows Signor entering and leaving Wirtes' apartment. The footage also corroborates the witnesses' statement, according to the police report.

At the police station, Signor allegedly admitted to being involved in an altercation with Wirtes, and police allege that blood was found on Signor's hands.

Signor was initially arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court on a single count of assault and battery resulting in serious bodily injury, but that charge has since been amended to manslaughter.

Signor is next scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 2 for a pretrial hearing.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376


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