Pittsfield man gets jail time for 'disturbing' attack with baseball bat on woman he didn't know


PITTSFIELD -- A city man was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail on Thursday after pleading guilty in the unprovoked beating and slashing of a woman -- an attack the judge in the case called "disturbing."

Alex Leclair, 19, of Wellington Avenue, drunkenly attacked the woman, who was a stranger, with a knife and baseball bat and left her unconscious on Orchard Street about 1:15 a.m. on Aug. 22. There was no apparent motive for the attack.

Just prior to the attack, police had dropped an intoxicated Leclair off at his aunt's house after he was involved in an unrelated argument with three women. In some instances police take intoxicated people into protective custody; in this case, the officers decided against the move.

Ten minutes later the police were back in the area after receiving a report of a woman unconscious on the street.

The victim suffered a fractured skull and a slashed ear. Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph Yorlano told the court the single mother of two was still in physical therapy for her injuries and suffered from post traumatic stress disorder stemming from the attack.

Yorlano said prosecutors had "seriously considered" bringing the case to the grand jury, but because Leclair agreed to plead out so quickly and the victim was "on board" with the joint recommendation of 2 1/2 years in jail, the case was kept in Central Berkshire District Court.

Leclair's attorney, Jessica Byrne, told the court her client was aware just how lucky he was that he wasn't indicted in Berkshire Superior Court. She said Leclair had a longstanding alcohol addiction he had never dealt with.

The plea deal allowed Leclair -- who had been facing aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon -- to plead to the lesser charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Judge Robert S. Murphy Jr. sentenced Leclair to serve his sentence at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction and recommended Leclair attend both an in-jail treatment program and a residential treatment program.

Leclair has been held since his arrest Aug. 22 and was given credit for the time he has served.

He previously served jail time after pleading guilty in December 2011 to assaulting a 46-year-old man who police said had intervened in an attempt to stop Leclair and his friends from harassing a young girl on North Street that October. Police said he hit the man with a beer bottle, which Leclair denied. He did admit to hitting the man with his fist.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
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