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Addiction in Franklin County

Greenfield man sentenced in drug-fueled hold-up

Put a knife to the throat of manager of downtown clothing store

GREENFIELD — A local man was sentenced to state prison for the 2013 knife-point robbery of a local boutique.

Gregory Collison, 23, of Greenfield, was sentenced to three years after pleading guilty to charges of armed robbery and failure to register as a sex offender, in Franklin Superior Court Tuesday. He was given credit for 277 days served while awaiting trial.

High on heroin and armed with a knife, Collison robbed Main Street shop Zemi on June 4, 2013. He held the knife against manager Laurie Baggetta’s throat and demanded the money from the till. He left with $264.

“He put the cashier in a great deal of fear, and it continues to affect her at work,” said assistant district attorney Carrie Russell.

Collison surrendered himself to police shortly after the robbery. As officers surrounded the Winslow Building, where Collison lived, without the knowledge of management, he approached them, and said “I’m the one you’re looking for.”

“I’m guilty, and I’m not going to waste anyone’s time and money by lying about what I did or didn’t do,” Collison told the court Tuesday. “I know I did it, and I’m just hoping to get past this.”

“He has shown remorse since the beginning,” said his attorney, Jonah Goldsmith. “This was clearly a drug-motivated crime. He was strung out on heroin and he recognizes that he needs help.”

Baggetta agreed.

“The victim said she knew (Collison) was high, and requested in her impact statement that he receive treatment,” said Russell. “She also pointed out the she realizes he’s young, and hopes that he gets help.”

Russell said Collison’s remorse, and the fact that he turned himself in immediately after the robbery, were considered while working out a plea agreement with his attorney.

Judge Mary Lou Rup recommended that Collison’s sentence be served in a house of correction, but the state Department of Corrections has final say on where he will be committed.

Rup encouraged Collison to take advantage of the rehabilitative programs available while incarcerated and wished him luck in his recovery from addiction.

The charge of failing to register as a sex offender stemmed from the fact that Collison, previously convicted of an indecent assault on a child, a level-2 offense, resided in town for several weeks before the robbery without registering his new address.

You can reach David Rainville at: drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

(Editor's note: Some information in this story has changed from an earlier edition.)

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