PITTSFIELD — A man accused of stabbing his coworker over a disagreement reportedly concerning the price of cannabis is seeking pretrial release into a residential treatment center.
Damien E. Greene, 42, of Pittsfield, has been in custody since his arrest in May 2021, when he allegedly sliced his coworker at Mullins Moving & Storage with a box cutter.
It happened, authorities said, after the 23-year-old victim’s girlfriend agreed to give Greene a ride home on May 20 of last year.
She picked them up at the moving company at Downing Industrial Parkway, and they stopped at Berkshire Roots, where the victim had agreed to use his marijuana card to buy cannabis for himself and Greene.
The two men had received tip money from that day’s work. According to court documents, the victim’s girlfriend told police Greene became angry when he learned how much the cannabis cost, and demanded $60.
That’s when Greene started screaming, so the victim’s girlfriend stopped the car on Plastics Avenue.
The victim tried to get Greene out of the car, police said in a report. Greene shoved the car door open, then allegedly stabbed his coworker in the lower back with a dirty box cutter, causing a wound that exposed the victim’s ribs and two vertebrae.
Greene walked away and the victim’s girlfriend drove her significant other to Berkshire Medical Center, where he received 110 staples after four hours of surgery.
Assistant District Attorney Amy Winston told Judge John Agostini at a Thursday hearing in Berkshire Superior Court that authorities have “good cause” to keep Greene in pretrial custody at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction, given what she called the “extremely serious” nature of his alleged actions.
Greene’s defense attorney, Katherine Grubbs, the attorney in charge at the local Committee For Public Counsel Services office, argued for Greene to be released into Department of Mental Health placement at the Pomeroy House.
She said Greene has a “significant mental-health history” and has been judged to be a good candidate for DMH services by jail officials.
She said Greene has been held in custody for approximately 180 days, not including time deemed excludable due to COVID-19 regulations and other reasons. That’s the ceiling for pretrial detention in superior court under the state’s dangerousness statute.
Winston, however, argued that Greene’s period of pretrial custody was below the limit, laying out a different set of applicable delays.
Setting aside the statutory delays, she argued that he must continue to be detained because there were no conditions of Greene’s pretrial release that could ensure the safety of the victim and the public.
The prosecutor also cited Greene’s criminal record, both in state and out of state. Greene was arrested in 2017 on a drug possession charge, and has been arrested on assault allegations.
Winston says he faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted in the case related to box-cutter attack. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of mayhem, armed assault to murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury.
“This defendant fled the scene (and) did not stay around to make sure the individual he had stabbed was OK,” said Winston, adding that “Mr. Greene also has in-state and out-of-state crimes of violence.”
Agostini took Greene’s request for release to the Pomeroy House under advisement.