North Adams men say victim misidentified them in 2017 attack

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PITTSFIELD — Attorneys for two men accused in a 2017 attack in North Adams say the victim simply misidentified his assailants.

Opening statements were presented in Berkshire Superior Court on Tuesday in the case against Ryan Peterson, 29, and Keith Larrabee, 24.

First Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Karen Bell said the men, both North Adams residents, approached the victim about 11:30 p.m. Aug. 24, 2017, on East Quincy Street, and a fight broke out after Larrabee punched the 42-year-old man in the head. Bell said the victim recognized Peterson, who lived nearby.

The victim reported seeing a knife in Peterson's hand and realized he was bleeding and yelled for people to call the police, Bell said.

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His neck was slashed and he was stabbed in the torso and cut on the shoulder and hand. He also suffered a nearly severed ear that required medical treatment and plastic surgery.

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Peterson's attorney, Ryan Smith, said the victim made an honest mistake when he identified his client as his assailant.

He said the physical description given by the victim does not not match his client, and said there was alack of evidence at his home when police searched it.

Larrabee's attorney, Joshua Hochberg, told jurors there are no witnesses or physical evidence linking him to the assault.

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Peterson, 29, has pleaded not guilty to mayhem, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury and assault to murder. Larrabee, 24, has pleaded not guilty to one count of assault and battery.

Witness testimony is expected to begin Wednesday morning. The trial is expected to continue into early next week.

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


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