Pittsfield man charged with rape, but accused has solid alibi


PITTSFIELD -- A Pittsfield man is facing charges he sexually assaulted a woman during a drug deal early Saturday, but several people -- including the victim's boyfriend -- say police arrested the wrong man.

Mark A. Turner, 45, of Lincoln Street, is accused of raping a woman twice inside her First Street residence when he went there to sell her crack cocaine.

The suspect told the woman he didn't want to do the deal in the kitchen, preferring to do it in the bathroom, according to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Michael D'Angelo. Once inside, he sexually assaulted her, choked her and then sexually assaulted her a second time, the prosecutor said.

Afterward, he allegedly threw down the crack and left the house.

The woman's boyfriend arrived there a short time later and found the woman sobbing and shaken.

But Turner told police he didn't know the woman. He said he had been DJing at a local bar until after 1 a.m. and then went home with several friends and ordered food from a local pizza shop.

D'Angelo said that police called the alibi witnesses, who confirmed they had been with Turner at his home at the time of the alleged rape. The ADA said the woman's boyfriend later told police they had arrested the wrong man.

The prosecutor said these were issues that would be dealt with at trial and that the case would be going to the grand jury. Turner has a history of drug dealing and served 18 months in jail for cocaine distribution in 2008, according to D'Angelo. He asked for $5,000 cash bail.

Turner pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Monday to two counts of rape.

His attorney, Joshua C. Hochberg, said his client was cooperative with police, giving them the clothing he was wearing and submitting to a swab for DNA. The lawyer said Turner would be exonerated once the DNA tests came back from the crime lab.

Hochberg told the court that the complaining witness initially identified a different person from a police photo array and had told police the rapist was 6 feet, 6 inches tall, while Turner is 5 feet, 8 inches. Additionally, the woman is an admitted crack smoker, he said. Hochberg asked for $2,000 bail for Turner.

Judge Paul M. Vrabel set bail at $2,500 cash or $25,000. Turner made bail and is expected back in court April 16.

Because the file has been sealed by the court, no other information about the case, including the age of the alleged victim, is publicly available.

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