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News Briefs: Great Barrington downtown construction update; woman sentenced for misleading police

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By Saturday, Mar 23, 2019 News

Downtown construction update for the week of Monday, March 25

Great Barrington — Contractors will continue installing drainage on School Street and Church Street. Parking on School Street will be prohibited during construction hours. Both Church and School streets may be closed to through traffic at times. Local traffic will be allowed, and motorists and pedestrians are asked to use caution when traveling in these areas.

Looking ahead, drainage on Elm Street will begin later in the week, or the week of Monday, April 1. Parking and traffic may be impacted during these times, but the streets will remain open to traffic. All schedules are weather-permitting and subject to change.

Sidewalk work on Railroad Street is scheduled to begin in mid or late April.

Work will run from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. All inquiries can be directed to the town’s Department of Public Works at (413) 528-0867 or svandeusen@townofgb.org.

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Woman sentenced to prison for misleading police in homicide investigation

Pittsfield — An Easthampton woman who pleaded guilty Friday to lying to State Police detectives assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office in the investigation into the suspected killing of Joanne Ringer of Clarksburg received a two- to four-year sentence to state prison.

Laura J. Reilly, 44, pleaded guilty in Berkshire County Superior Court to two counts of misleading a police officer with the intent to impede, obstruct, delay, harm or interfere with a criminal investigation. Judge John J. Agostini on Friday sentenced Reilly to two to four years in the Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Cedar Junction. The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office had recommended a three- to four-year sentence.

“The judge agreed this was an egregious example of misleading police,” Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington said Friday. “We sought incarceration because Laura Reilly’s lies not only stymied police in apprehending a murder suspect, they also had a devastating and lasting effect on Joanne Ringer’s family and friends.”

Police located Ringer’s abandoned vehicle in Easthampton days after Charles Reidy—Ringer’s husband and the sole suspect in her slaying—reported her missing March 2, 2017. On Friday, Reilly admitted that she repeatedly lied to police about the level of contact she had with Reidy on March 2 and March 3, 2017. Reilly’s misleading statements wasted important time in the State Police investigation and significantly obstructed the detective’s effort to find Ringer’s killer. As it turned out, Reidy killed himself April 7, 2017, and Joanne Ringer’s remains were not found until Feb. 27, 2018, in Hatfield, nearly a year after she vanished. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner could not determine a definitive cause of death due to the time that had elapsed.

The nearly one-year search and lack of closure in the case deeply affected Joanne Ringer’s family and friends, Harrington said. “If Laura Reilly told the truth about driving Reidy home on the day he reported Ringer missing and spending time with him the day after, police could have questioned Reidy about the killing prior to him committing suicide,” Harrington said. “I offer my condolences to Ms. Ringer’s loved ones, and we hope that this plea and sentence gives them some measure of comfort.”

First Assistant District Attorney Karen J. Bell told the court Friday that due to the false information that Reilly provided, the State Police detectives assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office undertook one of its most comprehensive video surveillance retrieval operations. “The defendant’s conduct and lies were specific, intentional, purposeful and calculated,” Bell said. “At the time that the defendant spoke to the police, she was fully aware of the nature of the investigation. Intentionally misleading the police cuts at the core of our criminal justice system and threatens public safety.”

In sentencing Reilly, Agostini concurred with the district attorney’s office. “The public was really the victim in this case,” Agostini said, referencing the long search for Ringer and the extensive news coverage it produced. “It was not just police that were misled. It was all of us.”

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