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Date: 10/26/2015 11:56 AM PDT

Springfield man deserved scratching and biting, defense lawyer tells judge By Jack Flynn | jflynn@repub.com on October 21, 2015 at 8:30 AM, updated October 21, 2015 at 8:31 AM SPRINGFIELD – If Ashley Zarrillo did bite and scratch her boyfriend, she was more than provoked, her defense lawyer said Monday. As the couple were arguing, he slammed the door on her arm and wouldn't release it, attorney Randy Milou said during Zarrillo's arraignment on a domestic abuse charge in Springfield District Court. "Her arm was stuck – she was trying to get it out," said Milou, adding that his client, not her boyfriend, was the victim in the fight and a long-running "nightmare" involving the boyfriend's parents. In January, Zarrillo, 29, allowed her boyfriend of nine years to move into her Oakland Street apartment, and his family followed shortly after, Milou said. Despite Zarrillo's repeated requests, the family has not moved out, Milou said. "They keep saying they're moving, they're moving – but they never do," Milou said, adding that Zarrillo is seeking her own eviction to rid herself of her boyfriend's relatives. As for the boyfriend, he flunked a drug test earlier Monday and had his probation revoke – leaving Zarrillo alone with his relatives, Milou said. Judge William Boyle rejected a request for cash bail, and released Zarrillo on personal recognizance. "Thank you very much, your honor," she told the judge. http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/10/boyfriend_deserved_to_be_scrat.html

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Date: 10/26/2015 11:55 AM PDT

Springfield teen denies assaulting pregnant girlfriend, admits smashing television and cell phone, police say By Jack Flynn | jflynn@repub.com on March 03, 2015 at 6:30 AM, updated March 03, 2015 at 6:33 AM SPRINGFIELD - Instead of punching his pregnant girlfriend Sunday morning, Jesus Pizarro-Reyes decided to kick a hole in her television and hurl her phone against the wall, according to his arrest report. "It looks like you won't be calling (the police) after all," Pizarro-Reyes, 18, told his girlfriend after damaging her phone during a fight at their Lionel Benoit Road apartment, the report states. But his girlfriend managed to reassemble the phone and call 911, leading to his arrest later Sunday morning on felony assault charges. In Springfield District Court Monday, Pizarro-Reyes pleaded innocent to aggravated domestic assault and battery, witness intimidation, threat to commit a crime and malicious property damage. During the arraignment, defense lawyer Randy Milou said his client never struck his 22-year old girlfriend and their argument had ended by the time police arrived. But Pizarro-Reyes acknowledged taking his anger out on his girlfriend's television and cell phone and also admitted striking her in the past, the arrest report states. Pizarro-Reyes is listed as both an employee and student at Balliet Middle School in Springfield in the police report. The girlfriend, described as being "visibly pregnant" with the defendant's child, is also mother of a young boy who was sleeping in the apartment as the couple fought. The boy is not Pizarro-Reyes' child, the report states. The couple began arguing late Saturday night and by 4 a.m. Pizarro-Reyes was enraged, the woman told police. When she asked him to leave, he refused; when she threatened to call police, he responded, "If the cops show up, something bad is going to happen," according to the report. Then the defendant kicked a hole in the television and began damaging furniture, saying "this is what I can do," the woman said. He also threatened to punch her. When she raised her hands in self-defense, he grabbed her phone and threw it against the wall, the woman told police. After collecting pieces of the phone, she locked herself in the bathroom; as he banged on the door, she managed to reassemble it and call 911, the woman said. When police arrived, the defendant admitted damaging the television and phone, but offered an explanation. "Mr. Pizarro-Reyes told officers ... that he hit and destroyed those things to keep from hitting her as he had the urge to," the report said. At the defense lawyer's request, Judge Jacklyn Connly released the defendant on personal recognizance and scheduled a pretrial conference April 19. She also ordered the Pizarro-Reyes to have no contact with the defendant. http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/03/instead_of_punching_pregnant_g.html

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Date: 10/26/2015 11:54 AM PDT

Designated driver charged with drug possession, driving without a license was being good Samaritan, defense lawyer says By Jack Flynn | jflynn@repub.com on October 22, 2014 at 7:00 AM, updated October 22, 2014 at 7:02 AM SPRINGFIELD - Maybe Amy B. Beltrandi was not the best choice for designated driver. Despite a revoked driver’s license and a recent warrant for her arrest, the 37-year old Springfield resident was piloting a red pickup truck along Carew Street Friday night with only one working headlight. After Springfield police pulled the vehicle over, they found crack cocaine in a cigarette pack next to Beltrandi’s seat, and more in her pocketbook, Springfield District Court records show. During Beltrandi's arraignment Monday on drug and motor vehicle charges, defense lawyer Randy Milou explained that his client was a victim of circumstance, pressed into driving the truck because its owner - who was sitting in the front passenger seat - was too drunk. “She was a being a good Samaritan,” said the lawyer, noting that the cigarette pack was wedged between the driver’s and passenger’s seat. “Those drugs were not her’s,” he added. After searching the vehicle, police allowed a passenger in the back seat with a valid license to drive it from the scene; Beltrandi, 37, of 77 Drexel St., was held over the weekend and pleaded not guilty Monday to possession of a Class B drug; operating with a revoked license and a lights violation. Beltrandi, who has also lived in Agawam and South Hadley, is facing drug possession, breaking and entering and larceny charges in Westfield District Court. When she failed to appear last month for a hearing, court officials issued a warrant for her arrest. She is also on probation in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown for operating under the influence, and has a 2007 conviction for possession of a Class B drug, court records show. In Springfield District Court on Monday, her lawyer asked Judge William Boyle to release his client on personal recognizance. Any amount of bail would be a hardship, Milou argued, since his client has two children and no income. Given her outstanding warrant in Westfield District Court, Beltrandi would remain in custody anyhow while being transported to Westfield for a default hearing, the lawyer said. Boyle said he would consider the lawyer’s argument if Beltrandi took and passed a drug test - an offer she refused. He set bail at $500 cash and $5,000 surety, and scheduled a pre-trial hearing for Nov. 10. http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/10/designated_driver_cited_for_re.html

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Date: 10/26/2015 11:53 AM PDT

For 2nd time in month, Springfield caretaker denies assault on patient By Jack Flynn | jflynn@repub.com on August 04, 2015 at 7:00 AM, updated August 07, 2015 at 7:40 PM SPRINGFIELD – A state-funded personal care attendant was charged with assaulting his patient early Monday after she allegedly refused to give him money for crack cocaine. Harry Rentas Jr., 47, of Springfield, pleaded innocent to domestic assault and battery during his arraignment in Springfield District Court. It was the second time in four weeks that that Rentas has been charged with attacking his 53-year-old patient, according to court records. He pleaded innocent on July 9 to assaulting the same woman, who was also his girlfriend, according to police records. In the latest case, Springfield police arrested Rentas about 3:30 a.m. after responding to a 911 call from the woman's Hemlock Court home. In a statement to police, the woman said the defendant and his 11-month-old pit bull assaulted her when she refused to give Rentas money to buy crack cocaine. Assistant District Attorney John Wendel asked Judge Bethzaida Sanabria-Vega to revoke his bail on the July 9 case and impose cash bail on the new charge. The woman also appeared in court to request a restraining order. Testifying under oath, she said Rentas not only punched her several times and flipped over her couch, he also ordered his dog to attack her. The dog complied, biting her several times on the upper torso, the woman said. "I'm the one who feeds him," she said, referring to the pit bull. "He was confused; he didn't know if he should attack me or attack (Rentas)," she said. The woman requested a lifetime restraining order for Rentas, explaining, "I don't want (to see him) ever again." But defense lawyer Randy Milou pointed out that the woman had a seven-page criminal record that includes a charge of falsely reporting a crime in an unrelated case. "She has done this before," Milou said, adding his client has only been named in one previous restraining order. Rentas never touched the woman, Milou added. In the arrest report, Rentas is described as an employee of the Amherst-based Stavros Center for Independent Living. But a Stavros spokesman said that Rentas was hired by the woman, and was never a Stavros employee. Under state law, disabled or elderly people are allowed to hire their own personal care attendants to help with daily tasks like bathing or shopping. Agencies such as Stavros administer the state-funded program, issuing paychecks on behalf of the patients, but have no power to conduct background checks or otherwise screen the attendants, the Stavros spokesman said. The program has come under mounting criticism following reports of abuses. Rentas, who is listed at 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 230 pounds, has several alias, including "Harry the Hook," according to his arrest record. At the prosecutor's request, Vega revoked the defendant's bail in the July 9 case, and ordered him held for 90 days at the Hampden County Correctional Center. She also issued a protective order barring Rentas from having any contact with the woman for one year. Under the order, Rentas must surrender any firearms he owns. Rentas is due back in court on Aug. 11 for a pretrial hearing.


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Date: 10/26/2015 11:51 AM PDT

By Jack Flynn | jflynn@repub.com on April 07, 2015 at 8:40 PM, updated April 07, 2015 at 10:21 PM SPRINGFIELD - If William Smith figured he would never hear Tinkerbell's name again, he was wrong. As a judge reviewed Smith's probation record last week, he came across a 2014 charge - later dismissed - that Smith killed his girlfriend's dog by snapping its neck. "The dog's name was Tinkerbell," Judge William Boyle told Smith's defense lawyer, who claimed the tiny Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix had actually been poisoned. "And it wasn't poisoning," Boyle added. Smith, 28, of Springfield, was back in court last week, charged with violating a restraining order taken out by Tinkerbell's owner, who is now his ex-girlfriend. The case dates back to March 28 when police received a 911 call that a man was trying to force his way into Smith's ex-girlfriend's Wrentham Road home. By the time police arrived, the man had fled, but a police officer who lives next door had recognized Smith and confronted him as he tried to enter through a window, according to a police report. During Smith's arraignment in Springfield District Court, a prosecutor requested $500 bail on the new charge and asked Boyle to revoke Smith's release on an earlier assault case. But defense lawyer Randy Milou said the woman was not home when Smith appeared at her home on March 28. The 911 call came from her nephew who heard someone banging on the door but never saw Smith, the lawyer said. Milou also suggested that the police officer living next door had a vendetta against Smith and had encouraged the woman to seek a criminal complaint after Tinkerbell's death in July. Relying on information provided by his client, Milou pointed out that Boyle had actually dismissed the dog-killing case in December. "It wasn't my ruling," Boyle said, adding another judge must have dismissed the case. Under the restraining order, Smith was barred from having any contact with the woman, much less visiting her home, according to Boyle, who granted the prosecutor's motion to revoke Smith's release. "You'll have to go with the court officers," he told the NFL-sized defendant, who glared back at the judge while leaving the court room. He also imposed $500 cash bail on the new charge. The dog-killing case was dropped on Dec. 16 after a prosecutor filed a motion stating "there was insufficient evidence to warrant further prosecution." No further explanation was given, but Smith's previous defense lawyer said the actual cause of death would be difficult to prove since the defendant was charged three months after the dog died and was buried. The dog's owner told police Tinkerbell was alive and well when she left her home on July 20 and severely injured when she returned. Smith, who had been drinking Bacardi rum for several hours, was inside sobbing and apologizing. "All I ever do is hurt you. I'm selfish. I just want to die," Smith said, according to the woman's report. The dog's injury was consistent with a broken neck, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Hutchinson said during Smith's arraignment on Oct. 31. The defendant was angry at his girlfriend for leaving the house without him, and had made previous attempts to hurt the dog to punish her, the prosecutor said. But Smith claimed the dog was hit by a car outside the house between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., and described the vehicle as a gold and silver sedan. At the woman's request, the police officer next door checked his surveillance system; no car matching that description passed the house all afternoon, and the dog was never out on the street, the neighbor said, according to court documents. "Tinkerbell spent most of her time out in my yard as she used to do," the neighbor said. http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/04/springfield_man_jailed_for_vio.html

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Date: 10/26/2015 11:50 AM PDT

By Jack Flynn | jflynn@repub.com on July 09, 2015 at 11:41 AM, updated July 09, 2015 at 11:42 AM SPRINGFIELD – Two city men with six-page criminal records are being held without bail after being arraigned on new drug and gun charges. Jose M. Nunez, 26, and David Reyes, 24, both of Springfield, were arrested Tuesday night by police responding to 911 calls for another disturbance at 25 Wayne St. Following a motor vehicle chase, police confiscated heroin, marijuana, PCP, a firearm and more than $800 in cash from the defendants, Assistant District Attorney Karen McCarthy said during the men's arraignment in Springfield District Court. Both pleaded innocent to possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of PCP with intent to distribute, carrying a firearm without a license and resisting arrest. McCarthy requested $50,000 cash bail for each defendant, based on their six-page criminal histories and the severity of the new charges. Nunez not only has convictions in Massachusetts and Vermont in cases involving drugs and violence, but is also awaiting trial in Westfield on a charge of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, McCarthy said. Reyes also has a six-page arrest record, with convictions in Massachusetts and Vermont; in addition, he has a 25-page record of driving offenses in Massachusetts, where he is awaiting trial in a motor vehicle case, McCarthy said. During the chase Tuesday, Reyes was driving; while fleeing police at speeds up to 60 miles per hour, he struck a car parked at a traffic light, the prosecutor said. In addition to seeking $50,000 bail on the defendants' new charges, McCarthy asked Judge John Payne to revoke their bail in the pending cases. Defense lawyer Anna-Marie Puryear requested $1,000 cash bail for Reyes, noting that much of the evidence could be thrown if a judge rules police had no reason to pursue the vehicle. The 911 calls were for a disturbance at 35 Wayne St., where police arrested four people and seized cocaine, heroin, marijuana and four firearms during a raid last week. According to police, neighbors calling to report a disturbance involving a firearm Tuesday night said a silver car with Georgia plates was circling the house. But Puryear questioned the connection between the vehicle and the disturbance, and said the case was vulnerable to a motion to suppress. Nunez's lawyer said there was nothing tying his client to the car; to the drugs allegedly found in the car; or to the handgun recovered by police in the woods. Police reported earlier the two men were arrested after the car in the chase was left on Island Pond Road and the suspects ran in opposite directions. "This is one of the flimsiest police reports I've seen," attorney Randy Milou said, adding that his client works as a landscaper and has a pregnant girlfriend. Imposing $1,000 bail would allow Nunez to continue working, Milou said. Payne set bail at $10,000 for Reyes and $25,000 for Nunez on the new charges, then revoked their bails in the pending cases. Under his order, the defendants will be held without right to bail at the Hampden County Correctional Center.


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