NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – A North Adams man pleaded not guilty to the murder of 84-year-old Ellen Depaoli in Northern Berkshire District Court on Monday.
According to court documents, 41-year-old David Delratez did assault and beat Depaoli at her North Adams home, and used a knife to inflict a number of stab wounds to her body. It is alleged he also stole the victim's vehicle and pocketbook.
The cause of death was ruled blunt force trauma to the head and sharp object injury to the torso.
Delratez, of North Adams, lived at 512 Walker Street - approximately 200 yards from Depaoli's home. According to investigators, there was no evidence of forced entry or a struggle in the woman's home.
Officials say he often visited Ellen Depaoli; had dinner with her and would even stay over on occasion. Police say they are not aware of a motive for the crime.
David Delratez was arrested September 19th in Bennington, Vt. on a violation of probation warrant out of Berkshire County. He was arraigned as a fugitive from justice in Bennington and voluntarily agreed to return to Massachusetts.
"I loved that old woman, I hurt that old woman, I could see it in her eyes," Delratez told Bennington police after his arrest.
When he returned to the commonwealth, Delratez was arrested and formally charged with the murder of Depaoli as well as one count of larceny of a motor vehicle. He pleaded not guilty to both crimes on Monday.
He also pleaded not guilty to one count of breaking and entering and malicious destruction of property.
Depaoli's body was found inside her Walter Street home September 17th and her car, a blue Ford Taurus, was missing.
Police found the car in Bennington with Delratez, and brought it back to Berkshire County for processing of possible evidence.
According to police, a knife which matched description of wounds on Depaoli was found in clear sight in the Ford Taurus.
Court documents also note that Delratez was wanted on a probation violation for allegedly stealing an RV from the victim's son, Jim Depaoli. The report also states Delratez and Jim Depaoli were both involved in selling drugs and robberies.
Delratez had a troubled past beyond these recent crimes. He was charged and sentenced for assault and battery against his wife in 2012.
He is currently being held in the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail.
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.