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The attorney for a Pittsfield rape suspect has withdrawn from the case. A dangerousness hearing will continue Friday

Pittsfield district court building exterior

Central Berkshire District Court was closed on Monday  due to a weekend incident in which someone tried to, or did, break into the building.

PITTSFIELD — A dangerousness hearing for a 20-year-old rape suspect was put on hold Tuesday after his defense attorney withdrew from the case.

Edmund St. John IV had been representing Lucius Copeland, who is accused of raping two minors. 

"After receiving the discovery on this case I was immediately aware of a conflict," St. John told the judge during the hearing in Central Berkshire District Court. "Unfortunately, due to the nature of the conflict, I cannot proceed." 

Efforts are underway by the Bar Advocate Program to secure an attorney for Copeland, St. John said. 

Copeland, of Pittsfield, is accused of sexually assaulting two girls, one 17 and one 14, last summer. Prosecutors said he communicated with the girls, both of whom he knew, via social media, and that the incidents took place in Pittsfield and Lanesborough.

He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated rape and a single count of rape of a child.

Judge Mark Pasquariello opted to continue the case to Friday morning to allow ample time for a new attorney to be appointed.

Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Ilberg is prosecuting the case.

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6296.

Cops and Courts Reporter

Amanda Burke is Cops and Courts Reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.

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