NORTH ADAMS, N.Y. -- A North Adams man has been charged with murder in connection with the death of an elderly woman.
Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless says investigators arrested 41-year-old David A. Delratez this evening and charged him with one count of murder and one count of larceny of a motor vehicle. He is being held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail.
Delratez will be arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court, in North Adams, on Monday morning.
He was arrested Thursday afternoon in Bennington, Vt. on a Violation of Probation warrant out of Northern Berkshire District Court. He was arraigned as a Fugitive from Justice in Bennington, Vt. and voluntarily agreed to return to Massachusetts.
When he returned to the commonwealth, Delratez was arrested and formally charged with the murder of 84-year old Ellen Depaoli whose body was found inside her 409 Walker Street home Tuesday evening.
According to court documents, Delratez was staying with a woman on Valentine Street in Bennington, where police found him Thursday afternoon with the missing car that belonged to the homicide victim.
Police say the blue Ford Taurus was registered to Depaoli. The car was seized Thursday night and brought back to Berkshire County. Investigators will be processing the car for possible evidence.
An autopsy was conducted for Depaoli on Thursday; however specific details of the autopsy will not be released at this time as the investigation is ongoing.
Long time North Adams resident Marion Harris says she's known Delratez his whole life.
"You couldn't ask for a better boy," she says.
But he did have a troubled past. In 2012 Delratez was charged and sentenced for assault and battery against his wife, still, Harris thinks he was turning his life around.
"He's got himself a job, which before he didn't care about," she says.
Harris says Delratez was friendly with Depaoli saying he would often spend time at Depaoli's house.
"Helping her out when her son wasn't around, you know, like another son, like an adopted boy."
But she says drinking would often be a problem for him.
"If he drinks like I told you and gets mean or something like that, I can see him slapping somebody or punching somebody like that," she said. "When he's sober he's a very nice guy, you couldn't ask for a better friend."
Harris adds Delratez treated her and others with the upmost respect.
"He respected his elders that's why I'm saying this is very, very hard to believe for David," she said. "It's hard to believe, because you know, I don't think he murdered her."
The investigation is being conducted by the North Adams Police Department, State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney's Office, Officers from the Pittsfield Police Department and Deputies from the Berkshire County Sheriff's Department, members of the Berkshire County Law Enforcement Task Force.
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