’Bad blood’ leads to Pittsfield bar fight


PITTSFIELD -- A woman who had her face slashed during a brawl outside a city bar admitted she threw the first punch.

Alyssa Mendonsa took the stand Friday in Berkshire Superior Court during the trial of three city women accused of beating her and her cousin, Qyreeana Sistrunk, outside of the former Back Nine Bar & Grille -- now called Fairways At The A Bar & Banquet -- on Crane Avenue in the early morning of March 16, 2013.

Lawyers for the defendants, Alicya M. Hubbard and Brittany Gresser, both 23, and Shanay Jones, 35, said there was "bad blood" between Mendonsa and Hubbard over a man that led to the events that night.

Mendonsa, 26, told the jury that after arguing with Hubbard inside the bar, she and Sistrunk ran into them outside the establishment and a fight ensued after Gresser began "bobbing her head" and being aggressive toward her.

"It pissed me off so I punched her in the face," Mendonsa told the jury.

Mendonsa said she was then set upon by Gresser and Hubbard, knocked to the ground and "kicked in the back, head and face."

Sistrunk testified she punched Gresser and Jones, and that Jones eventually dragged her away from the fight and held her down.

Under cross-examination by Jones’ attorney, Edmund St. John III, Sistrunk admitted Jones was trying to keep her from returning to the fight.

Both of the witnesses said they saw Hubbard run to her car and return to the scene. Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph Yorlano alleged it was Hubbard who slashed Mendonsa in the face, breast and neck with a sharp object.

Attorney Leonard H. Cohen, representing Hubbard, pointed out in his opening statement on Thursday that no knife or other weapon was ever recovered by police.

Mendonsa admitted that she never saw a knife and hadn’t even realized she had been cut until after the fight was over. Her cheek required 19 stitches to sew up, she testified.

Sistrunk also said from the stand that she did not see a weapon or witness anyone being cut. She suffered a dislocated shoulder and sprained wrist, among other injuries.

Attorney Raymond J. Jacoub, representing Gresser, said during his opening statement that his client had also been cut and believed it had been by Mendonsa.

"She was the aggressor, not the victim," he told the jury Thursday.

Hubbard and Gresser are facing single counts of mayhem and two counts each of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.

Jones had a mayhem charge dismissed prior to trial, but is still facing two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.

The trial continues Monday.

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