Man gets 18 months jail after police raid Pittsfield apartment, find weapons cache

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PITTSFIELD — A city man whose attorney said was in the "wrong place at the wrong time" has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for having a pair of unsecured shotguns and ammunition in his bedroom.

Jeremy "Country" Paul, 40, was arrested April 28 after the police unit executed a "no-knock" search warrant and entered his Linden Street residence.

In Paul's bedroom, police found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, with a scope attached, between the bed and the wall; a 20-gauge shotgun leaning against a wall; three 12-gauge shotgun shells; four 20-gauge shotgun shells; and one .40-caliber round of ammunition. Paul had no license to carry nor a firearms identification card.

A search of the attic recovered more weapons in a duffel bag. Charges connected to those weapons were applied to another resident, Fabian "Twin" Hernandez, who also was arrested. His case remains open.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Robert Kinzer asked Judge Daniel Ford to consider a sentence of two years in jail — the maximum penalty for the illegal ownership charges — noting Paul's out-of-state record.

That record includes breaking and entering and larceny charges out of North Carolina in 1995, and burglary, grand larceny and assault and battery charges in South Carolina between 2004 and 2013.

Paul pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court to two counts each of illegal ownership of a firearm and improper storage of a firearm, and one count of possession of ammunition without a firearms identification card. A charge of being an armed career felon was dropped by the state.

Paul's attorney, Colin Keefe, countered with a suggestion of 18 months in jail.

Keefe said Paul had developed an addiction to painkillers following a car accident and that led to heavier drugs and eventually taking up residence in the Linden Street apartment about a month before the raid.

He said Paul wasn't using the weapons in any kind of venture, but took full responsibility for them being in his room when police arrived.

Keefe noted his recommendation was only six months off of the state's request and added that 18 months "would send a message" to Paul.

Ford accepted Keefe's recommendation for the lighter sentence. He also agreed to pass along a recommendation from Keefe to have Paul serve his sentence in Hampshire County because a family member of Paul's works at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction.

He was given credit for 222 days of time already served in custody.

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


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