New England Newspapers
PITTSFIELD -- A New York man who served close to eight years in prison for a 2004 armed robbery admitted on Thursday in Berkshire Superior Court to violating his probation. He was released from jail after his attorney convinced the judge his client would be heading back to his home state.
Keith Hempstead, 43, of Valatie, admitted to Judge John A. Agostini that he hadn’t shown up to any probation meetings since June.
Hempstead was sentenced in the same court in 2004 to six to eight years in state prison on a charge of armed robbery while masked for holding up an Econo Lodge hotel in New Ashford.
He was also sentenced to 18 months of probation to follow his prison stint for receiving stolen property.
Hempstead served close to eight years, according to the Probation Department, in part because he tried to escape from prison.
Released in June 2011, Hempstead had his probation transferred to New York, but stopped showing up to his probation meetings. He was arrested after his probation officer saw him walking along a road. Taylor asked that Hempstead be sentenced to six months in jail and then have his probation terminated.
Hempstead’s attorney, David Pixley, told the court that Hempstead had already served about 2 1/2 months in jail awaiting the outcome of the case and asked for time served with the promise his client would return to New York. Pixley said that one of
Agostini asked the attorney whether he was suggesting that if given time served and released Hempstead would be "New York State’s problem."
Pixley answered that he didn’t want to characterize the situation that way, then added, "but, yes."
Agostini terminated the probation and released Hemp stead.