Table leg attack, police chase net Pittsfield man a year in jail

Saturday February 23, 2013

PITTSFIELD -- A 33-year-old man was sentenced to a year in jail on Friday after pleading guilty to charges related to an attack on an acquaintance with a table leg and a separate high-speed chase through the city that ended when he crashed into a house.

In Central Berkshire District Court, Omar Johnson pleaded guilty to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in a Jan. 19, 2012, attack on a 24-year-old man who was walking to meet his family at the Dunkin' Donuts on Dalton Avenue at about 6:30 p.m.

According to the victim, Johnson walked up to him, asked him for "a bag," and when the man replied that he didn't know what he was talking about, Johnson struck him in the head with a two-foot long table leg. The man, who suffered a cut to his head, ran. He later told police he recognized Johnson because they had spent time in jail together.

On Friday, Johnson also pleaded guilty to several charges, including leaving the scene of a property damage accident and reckless driving, related to the Oct. 12, 2012, high-speed chase through the streets of Pittsfield.

According to a Pittsfield Police report, at about 3:30 p.m. that day, Johnson failed to yield to a police officer and a pursuit ensued. The defendant was hitting speeds of 60 mph or more in a 30 mph zone, according to the police. The chase stopped when he failed to make the turn from Madison Avenue onto Dewey Avenue in his Honda CRV and smashed into the front porch of 257 Dewey Ave. He then fled on foot, making his way across the Housatonic River before he was apprehended.

According to his lawyer, Glynis Mac Veety, Johnson has had a bad relationship with the Pittsfield Police who had wrongly arrested him on a previous occasion. She said Johnson fled from the police in fear.

The attorney told the court that her client had moved to Dalton from Pittsfield in order to get his life together and has had no trouble with the law since moving.

Mac Veety was seeking a continuation without a finding of guilt related to the car chase and time served in the assault and battery case. The defendant has already spent 60 days in jail awaiting the outcome of the case.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Daniel Hespeler asked the court to sentence Johnson to 18 months in jail citing the nature of the crimes and Johnson's record.

Judge Fredric D. Rutberg ordered Johnson to serve a year at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction.

Johnson's jail sentence begins on Monday. The judge allowed him to leave on Friday, but if Johnson fails to show up clean, sober and on time Monday morning at court to begin serving his sentence, he will have to spend twice the time -- two years, instead of one -- behind bars.


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