SJC upholds Pittsfield man's 2010 robbery, assault and battery conviction


PITTSFIELD -- A city man will remain in state prison to serve out his six- to 10-year prison sentence for a Pittsfield robbery after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court denied his appeal on Tuesday.

Wayne C. Tassone, 37, of Pittsfield, was convicted in September 2010 of unarmed robbery and assault and battery for beating a store clerk at the Dawes Avenue Variety store and stealing approximately $350 in cash in 2009.

Tassone, who fled the state before being arrested by police in Altamonte Springs, Fla., maintained his innocence in the theft and assault. Tassone maintained that evidence was misused during his trial and that it was his brother who committed the crime.

A pair of eyeglasses, belonging to Tassone, was found at the scene following the assault and robbery. DNA extracted from the glasses matched a sample of Tassone's in the state's combined DNA index system.

Tassone's attorney argued that the DNA index system is only to be used for investigative purposes and was improperly used during his client's prosecution. The judges disagreed stating there was no such violation, and that at his trial, the evidence used was from a swab taken from Tassone's cheek following his arrest.

In the appeal, Tassone's attorney also argued the use of "leading questions" by the prosecutor at the time of Tassone's trial and the judge's use of the word "defendant" instead of "offender" when speaking to the jury about appraising identification testimony.

Again, the judges agreed that the arguments were not grounds to turn over the conviction or grant a new trial.

Tassone will continue to serve sentence at the Cedar Junction Correctional Facility.

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