Weeks from release, inmate gets prison time for Berkshire jail assault


PITTSFIELD -- An inmate who was weeks away from being released has earned himself up to five years in state prison for assaulting another inmate at the Berkshire Coiunty Jail & House of Correction.

Misael Saez, 45, of North Adams, admitted that he attacked an inmate last year at the jail over money he said the inmate owed him for drawing a greeting card.

The victim was walking on a treadmill in the weight room when Saez punched him from behind, according to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Rachael Eramo. A surveillance tape showed Saez throwing up his arms in jubilation after knocking out the inmate, said Eramo, who described the act as "rather chilling."

The punch knocked the victim into a concrete and metal wall, causing him to lose consciousness and bleed profusely, according to Eramo and a statement made by the victim.

The victim suffered multiple fractures to his face and eye socket, requiring multiple surgeries, plastic surgery and the insertion of a titanium plate below his eye, Eramo said. She said the victim now has double vision, can not close his right eyelid and has numbness to his face.

She called the attack "unprovoked."

The victim described Saez as a "dangerous individual. ... I didn't instigate this."

Eramo said that Saez has a history of violence offenses dating back to 2009, including assault and battery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He also has a history of restraining orders, Eramo said.

The victim asked for the maximum sentence allowed. "I am in fear of him," he said.

Saez's attorney, Jeffrey Hochberg, said his client is "incredibly sorry" for what occurred. "He never meant for this intense, permanent damage."

He requested that Saez be remanded to the county jail to make it easier for his 3-year-old son to visit him.

Saez pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Thursday to a charge of assault and battery causing bodily harm; a charge of mayhem was dropped.

Judge John Agostini followed the sentence recommendation of the Berkshire District Attorney's Office and said he "probably would have exceeded" the recommendation if given the chance.

He also rejected the plea for Saez to stay close to his son.

"I'm not sure I want to have the son subjected to that level of violence," Agostini said.

To reach Nathan Mayberg:
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