Pittsfield man with long record tries to OD in police custody

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PITTSFIELD — A city man with an "extensive violent criminal history," apparently tried to take his own life while in police custody on assault and battery, kidnapping and other charges.

Billie J. Twing, 35, swallowed about 52 Klonopin tablets at the Pittsfield Police Department following his Friday arrest, according to police. Klonopin is a powerful anti-seizure medication and sedative.

He was taken to Berkshire Medical Center for treatment and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, according to police. He was released from the hospital Monday and arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court.

Twing was arrested following a report from his alleged victim that he punched her and stabbed her in the arm and held her against her will while demanding her bank card.

The woman told police she awoke about 5:30 a.m. Friday to find Twing standing over her bed.

She said Twing threw food at her, punched her in the leg, face and head, dragged her out of the bedroom by her hair, pulled a condom from his pocket and threw it at her, claiming it had been used.

The woman told police she suspected Twing wanted her bank card in order to purchase drugs.

The woman ran from the house and tried to dial 911 on her cellphone but was intercepted by Twing before she could complete the call.

Twing allegedly retrieved a folding knife from his pocket and threatened to cut the woman "up into a million pieces," if she called the police before stabbing her twice in her left arm and forcing her back into the house.

Twing continued his threats once back inside the house, telling the woman he wasn't going to allow her to leave until she gave him her bank card.

That went on for about 90 minutes, she told police, before Twing passed out and she was able to leave and contact a friend for a ride to the police station, where she reported the incident.

Prior to being booked, Twing was given permission to use a bathroom at the police station, where he swallowed the pills, which were in a prescription bottle he was carrying in his pocket. Police declined to comment on why Twing got a bottle of pills into the police department.

Pittsfield Police Capt. David Granger said it was Twing who disclosed the number of pills he swallowed.

Twing's attorney, Joseph Zlatnik, said Tuesday he was not able to have a constructive conversation with him Monday due to his mental state and was not able to glean any details on that issue.

Twing pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and battery on a family or household member (subsequent offense), assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, intimidation of a witness, kidnapping and threatening to commit a crime (murder).

Judge William Rota revoked Twing's bail on a still-pending Superior Court case and set a pretrial hearing for Friday in his new matter during which the issue of bail is likely to be addressed.

Twing has what police describe as an extensive criminal history, including drug offenses, assault and battery, rape and violation of an abuse prevention order, according to a report authored by Pittsfield Police Patrol Officer James Parise.

He has been arraigned in adult court 56 times and 10 times in juvenile court, according to police.

In 2004, Twing was sentenced to 7 to 10 years in prison on rape and assault and battery charges.

He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in October in his Superior Court case on drug distribution and other charges.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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