Prosecutor: Violent history with alcohol merits no bail for assault suspect

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PITTSFIELD — "He's an alcoholic and he commits violent, dangerous crimes as a result of that."

That was part of a prosecutor's argument Friday to keep Elvin Crawford held without the right to bail for allegedly beating and trying to rape a woman at his apartment last week.

Crawford, 59, of Pittsfield, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault to rape in the incident.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph Brava said Crawford has a "lengthy and deplorable" criminal record, which contains violent crimes that appear to be fueled by alcohol abuse.

Crawford's attorney, Jerrold Trehey, said his client is able to stay out of trouble when he avoids alcohol, noting that his most recent charges were from 2014, after which he quit drinking. He said Crawford began drinking again sometime last year.

Trehey suggested releasing Crawford on his own recognizance with an order to not contact the victim and to remain alcohol-free.

"He has the ability to remain sober," Trehey said.

Brava said Crawford's record includes multiple assault and battery charges and charges of indecent exposure, violations of restraining orders, indecent assault and battery and disorderly conduct.

Crawford previously had been convicted of assault and battery for beating a woman, assault and battery on a police officer after punching an officer in the face during an arrest, open and gross lewdness for urinating against a building and indecent assault and battery for grabbing the breasts of a female minor while she was seated in a parked car after he had asked her to go on a date with him.

In the most recent incident, police were summoned by a neighbor who reported hearing a woman yelling for help from inside Crawford's Union Street apartment.

The neighbor told police she began banging on the door in response to the woman's cries. She said the woman emerged from the apartment and told her Crawford assaulted and tried to rape her.

The woman told police she had been at Crawford's apartment, hanging out and drinking Friday afternoon, when he tried to initiate sex.

When she refused, Crawford pushed her onto the bed, grabbed her face and hit her before trying to remove her pants while she was yelling for help, she told police.

The woman said she was able to flee when a neighbor began banging at the door. Crawford then allegedly called the woman a whore and told her to leave.

Police noted redness on the side of the woman's face. Crawford said he didn't have sex with her and denied the assault.

Judge Robert Santaniello agreed with the state and ordered Crawford held without the right to bail for 120 days.

He is due back in court Sept. 10 for a status hearing.

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


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