Pittsfield man sentenced to prison on charge of witness intimidation
PITTSFIELD -- A 42-year-old Pittsfield man was sentenced Friday morning to between two and three years in state prison for intimidating a witness in a September 2011 fight.
Judge Daniel Ford ordered Brian K. Podavini to serve his sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.
A Berkshire Superior Court jury found Podavini guilty of the charge after about two hours of deliberation on Wednesday. They found him not guilty of two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and a single count of kidnapping.
The maximum sentence for witness intimidation is 10 years in state prison.
The three-day Berkshire Superior Court trial included testimony from the victim, 25-year-old Brian Harris Jr.
Podavini did not take the stand in his own defense.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Marianne Shelvey said Podavini got upset with Harris because of what Harris was saying about him on Sept. 25, 2011. Shelvey alleged that Podavini, "in a drug-induced rage," and Harris got into a fight. Podavini smashed Harris' cell phone to keep him from calling for help -- the basis for the charge of witness intimidation.
Podavini is facing unrelated charges of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate the drug laws. Those charges stem from an April Berkshire County Drug Task Force investigation into alleged drug dealing at the former Hermann Alexander's bar.
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