DA's office: Video surveillance contradicts man's account of fatal stabbing

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PITTSFIELD — When police responded to a fatal stabbing on Robbins Avenue last month, they encountered Shane Smith at the scene.

Smith told police he saw a man run up to the victim, William Catalano, and stab him twice before fleeing the area.

Police put out a "be on the lookout" alert based on a description provided by Smith, but surveillance video culled from cameras in the area later disputed Smith's original account.

Those details were revealed by Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Robert Kinzer on Wednesday during Smith's arraignment in Berkshire Superior Court.

Catalano was found stabbed on the sidewalk near 219 Robbins Ave. on Oct. 15. He died a short time later at Berkshire Medical Center.

Smith, 34, who is not accused of taking part in the attack, was arrested the next day on charges he lied to police. He has been in custody ever since.

Kinzer said the video and other evidence revealed that Catalano was attacked by three assailants, all of whom were already at the scene and none of whom matched the physical description or were wearing the clothing Smith described.

Bruce Romano, 28, Anthony Boone, 22 and Jason P. Sefton, 20, all of Pittsfield, have since been arrested and are facing murder charges. They are being held without bail, and their cases are expected to be transferred soon to Berkshire Superior Court. Smith, who has been indicted, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to one count of providing misleading information to a police officer.

In arguing for maintaining the $3,000 bail that was set in District Court, Kinzer noted Smith has at least eight defaults on court appearances on his record as well as violations of probation and criminal charges including larceny, forgery and breaking and entering dating back to 2002.

Smith's attorney, Marc Vincelette, said his client denies the charges, and he said Smith would live in the city with family if he was released. Vincelette also noted that Smith, despite his criminal record, has not been charged with any violent crimes.

Vincelette suggested a bail of $1,000 to ensure Smith's continued appearance in court while his case progresses.

He said he'd hate to see his client sit in jail for a nonviolent offense for a year or more, simply because he was unable to make bail.

Judge John Agostini adopted the state's recommendation, leaving in place the $3,000 bail, which he called "modest," under the circumstances.

He kept the bail in place, in part, because of the seriousness of the charge, noting a conviction could lead to a state prison sentence.

Smith is due back in court on April 24 for a pretrial hearing.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.

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