Pittsfield man gets probation in Fourth of July knife fight


PITTSFIELD -- One of two men involved in what police said was a knife fight at the city's Fourth of July parade last year was handed a suspended jail sentence and a year of probation on Monday.

In Central Berkshire District Court, Jose J. Camacho, 23, of Bradford Street, pleaded guilty to assault and disorderly conduct. A charge of assault with a dangerous weapon was continued without a finding of guilt, while one count of assault with a dangerous weapon was dismissed at the request of the Berkshire District Attorney's Office.

According to police and prosecutors, the city's annual parade was winding down when authorities were called to a parking lot in the 600-block of North Street and came upon a "chaotic" scene. According to authorities, Camacho and Marvin Ramos, 24, of Pittsfield, were chasing each other with knives as a large crowd watched and others fled the scene.

Just before police arrived, Camacho pulled "an extremely large kitchen knife" on 46-year-old Michelle DiPalazzo, the mother of Ramos' girlfriend, according to the police report.

DiPalazzo was in court on Monday and told Judge Robert S. Murphy Jr. that her now-7-year-old granddaughter, who witnessed the incident, is still affected by what happened.

"She's scared to death to go to the parade," she said.

Camacho's attorney, Elizabeth J. Quigley, told the court that there had been ongoing issues between her client and Ramos -- who was also charged in the case -- and that Ramos had threatened her client with a knife earlier in the day.

The attorney described the relationship as "Hatfields and McCoys."

Quigley said Ramos would "take the fifth," that is, refuse to testify against her client and Camacho planned to do the same in return on May 22 when Ramos' case came before the court. Ramos is facing charges of disorderly conduct and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Quigley said her client had been attempting to defend himself that day, has stayed out of trouble since the incident, and would be returning to Puerto Rico with his girlfriend after his probation was over.

The judge sentenced Camacho in line with a joint agreement between Quigley and the Berkshire DA's Office.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
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