Jail term given for man who lied about 2014 shooting outside Pittsfield grocery store
PITTSFIELD — A Franklin County man, whose false testimony to a grand jury complicated the investigation into a 2014 death, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail after pleading guilty to a perjury charge.
Ian Lang, 23, was present during a botched marijuana deal inside a car in the parking lot of the West Street Big Y when 29-year-old Anthony Gamache was shot in the leg.
Gamache was treated for the gunshot, but died the following day from a blood clot caused by the wound.
Lang spoke to police and identified Peter Campbell as the shooter and later gave the same information to a grand jury. That jury indicted Campbell on the murder charge. As the investigation continued, information came to light that Lang's account was not accurate. Lang eventually admitted Campbell was not seated in the front of the car and did not fire the shot into Gamache's leg.
Campbell was interviewed by police before Gamache had died and, at first, denied Lang's account. But when told Gamache would survive the shooting — a legitimately held belief at the time — Campbell admitted to firing the shot because he was under the impression he would, at most, be looking at a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and was willing to take the rap for his co-defendant under those circumstances.
Campbell was indicted and held on the second-degree murder charge, based mostly on information provided by Lang that he knew to be false, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph Yorlano said.
Campbell's co-defendant, Laquan Johnson, still faces second-degree murder and firearms charges in the case, which could go to trial later this year.
In November 2018, Campbell pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, two counts of armed assault with intent to rob and witness intimidation and was sentenced to 4 1/2 to six years in prison.
Yorlano asked Judge John Agostini to consider a state prison term of three to five years, noting the seriousness of the case about which Lang lied, the damage done to the investigation into Gamache's death and that Lang identified Campbell because he was angry about Gamache's death and Campbell was the only one of the two co-defendants he could identify by name.
Lang's attorney, Thomas Donohue, asked Agostini to sentence his client to two years of probation, which would give him structure and put him on the right path, adding that incarcerating Lang wouldn't do anybody any good.
Donohue noted Lang's minimal record and a childhood incident which left him with a fractured skull and a traumatic brain injury, which has had lifelong consequences including forgetfulness and mood swings.
Agostini rejected Donohue's recommendation, noting Lang's false statements forced someone to go to jail who might not have otherwise had to and that the same bad information disrupted the murder investigation itself.
"These were not innocent lies," Agostini said, before imposing the 2 1/2-year jail sentence.
Lang will serve his sentence at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction, though Agsotini agreed to make a recommendation that the sentence be served in Franklin County. That decision will be up to the Department of Corrections.
Bob Dunn can be reached at email@example.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.
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