NORTH ADAMS -- The attorney for the latest suspect taken into custody in connection with a recent stabbing claimed in court Tuesday that her client wasn't even in the state when the crime he is charged with took place.
Donnell McFarland, 23, of Robbins Avenue in Pittsfield, was arraigned Tuesday in Northern Berkshire District Court on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and armed assault with intent to murder.
McFarland turned himself in at the North Adams Police Department on Tuesday afternoon after police had issued a warrant for his arrest on Monday, June 17. According to Assistant District Attorney Laila Atta, McFarland was implicated in the stabbing of 41-year-old Derrick Borum on June 15 by Pittsfield resident Messiah Grandson, another suspect in the stabbing who was arraigned on the same charges last week. The stabbing occurred outside the Artery Lounge on Union Street following a large fight in the street.
Atta said Grandson described McFarland's appearance, and this was used to identify a black male of "similar weight and height" alleged to be McFarland in a surveillance video taken from the Crystal Hard Hat, a neighboring bar. The footage shows the fight outside the Artery, which involved a crowd of roughly 25 people and culminated in Borum being stabbed eight times.
But McFarland's attorney Sarah Morse-Field said he wasn't even there. Morse-Field said McFarland was in his hometown, Brooklyn, N.Y., staying with family on June 15, and further, he was still there when he heard a warrant was out in North Adams for his arrest.
"He said to me, ‘Look, I didn't do anything. I want to go back there and clear my name,' " Morse-Field said in court Tuesday. "He could have easily gotten lost in New York. ... On his own he came back. I think that's very tell-tale."
Morse-Field said McFarland has no criminal record in the state or in New York, and that he moved here in July, 2012, to play for the Berkshire Kings semiprofessional football team. She stated further that the injuring knife has yet to be found and the surveillance video contains "nothing definite."
Atta had requested that McFarland's bail be set at $25,000, but Judge Michael Ripps knocked the figure down to $10,000 "without prejudice, which means it can be reargued at a later time."
Borum, the victim of the stabbing, was treated at North Adams Regional Hospital and Berkshire Medical Center (BMC) after the attack. Atta said in court he was at one point in "critical condition." BMC reported Borum's release on Monday, June 17.
In addition to Grandson, Brandon Green was arraigned last week on a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for allegedly kicking Borum while he was down during the fight.
All three suspects now have bindover hearings scheduled for July 17, when their cases will be taken up in Berkshire Superior Court.
To reach Phil Demers,