PITTSFIELD — A city man has been ordered held without bail in connection with an armed robbery last October at the Onota Lake boat ramp.
Taylor Bartlett, 18, has pleaded not guilty to one count of armed and masked robbery with a firearm, a charge that carries a penalty of up to life in prison.
During a dangerousness hearing in Central Berkshire District Court on Wednesday, defense attorney Joshua Hochberg argued against the detention, disputing the strength of the case against his client. And he argued that the detention request contradicted the stated positions of the District Attorney's Office on treatment of younger defendants.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Dillian Hecht, however, used Bartlett's lack of record against him, arguing that part of the state's concern was that Bartlett's first criminal charge was such a serious one and one for which the state was likely seeking an indictment.
Bartlett is accused of robbing at gunpoint a group of four people in a parked car on Oct. 23, 2019. Police believe Bartlett suspected at least one of his victims had previously stolen marijuana from him.
The firearm was not recovered.
In the days following the incident, witnesses told police Bartlett was not present, and that a woman who was seen driving his vehicle said he was passed out drunk at his apartment.
Another witness said he saw the woman pick up two people suspected of committing the robbery and drive off in Bartlett's vehicle.
Police obtained a search warrant for Bartlett's apartment and recovered items apparently belonging to the robbery victims.
In an Oct. 28 interview with police, Bartlett denied being at the lake and said he was intoxicated at his apartment at the time of the robbery.
In late January, the woman who was driving Bartlett's vehicle implicated Bartlett and others as having been involved in the robbery.
Hochberg questioned the motives of the woman, and noted that others who were implicated were also at Bartlett's apartment that night.
He said the state's intention to hold Bartlett as dangerous contradicted District Attorney Andrea Harrington's stated position last September in announcing a program designed to divert some juvenile offenders into programs instead of pursuing a criminal case.
She also said last year she was in favor of raising the age limit for a defendant to be considered a juvenile to 21.
Hochberg called the state's case "severely weak," and said jail was not an appropriate place to hold Bartlett without bail under the circumstances, saying he is "by far" the youngest person currently being held there.
He suggested putting Bartlett on GPS monitoring with conditions of release would be adequate.
Judge Mark Pasquariello ruled that the state met its burden to show there were no conditions of release that could ensure the safety of the public and the victims and ordered Bartlett held for 120 days without bail.
Hochberg said that decision is being appealed to the Superior Court.
Bob Dunn can be reached at email@example.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.