Conway woman arrested on assault, numerous gun charges

Staff Writer
Published: 1/22/2020 10:20:19 PM

CONWAY — Police responding to a domestic disturbance ended up seizing seven firearms, including a fully automatic weapon, from a woman with no license to carry or firearms identification card (FID).

Grace M. Desotle, 58, of Conway, was arrested at her home on 19 charges, including: two counts of improperly storing a firearm; improperly storing a large-capacity firearm; two counts of assault and battery on a police officer; assault and battery on a family member; assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; assault with a dangerous weapon; possessing a firearm during a felony; possessing a firearm silencer; six counts of possessing a firearm without an FID; possessing a machine gun; and two counts of possessing a large-capacity firearm.

According to a police narrative written by Massachusetts State Police Trooper George D’Amelio, included in court documents, there are “potential criminal charges” against Grace Desotle’s husband, John Desotle, and son, Westley Desotle, if an investigation involving State Police and “other law enforcement agencies” finds they illegally possessed the firearms.

A report of a domestic disturbance came in to the State Police barracks in Shelburne around 7:35 p.m. on Saturday, D’Amelio wrote.

D’Amelio and other troopers, as well as Ashfield and Buckland Police, responded to a South Shirkshire Road residence in Conway. There, the narrative states, they found John Desotle waiting outside the home, alleging his wife punched and hit him and came at him with a knife.

D’Amelio and another trooper approached the home before Grace Desotle charged at them while screaming and flailing her hands. According to D’Amelio’s report, it was difficult to tell if Grace Desotle had a weapon in her hands as she charged.

Grace Desotle did not have a weapon in her hands, but allegedly kicked officers, threatened officers and asked them to kill her, D’Amelio’s report states. EMTs evaluated Desotle for her cut and bleeding hands — according to D’Amelio, John Desotle said his wife’s wounds were not self-inflicted, but the result of waving knives around while drunk. EMTs later reported to D’Amelio that Grace Desotle said she planned to kill her husband and self.

A search of the home found two knives, which John Desotle identified as the ones his wife had during the assault, D’Amelio’s narrative states.

Subsequent searches yielded seven firearms, including a loaded shotgun and an unloaded “AK-47 style” rifle underneath a bed in unlocked cases; an unlocked case with a loaded .45 caliber pistol and a fully automatic TEC-9-style firearm and several more guns in a locked safe, according to D’Amelio’s report.

Neither Grace Desotle nor John Desotle, who said he “honestly forgot” about the guns, have a license to carry or an FID card in Massachusetts, D’Amelio stated.

According to D’Amelio’s report, John Desotle said the guns belonged to his son, Westley Desotle, who lives in Virginia, and John Desotle was compliant with the officers, helping to open the locked safe to show them the guns. Upon opening the safe, John Desotle remarked that one of the guns was his.

Westley Desotle had a Massachusetts license to carry that expired in 2018, with the issuing agency being Weymouth, not Conway, the narrative states.

Grace Desotle was arraigned in Greenfield District Court on Tuesday. Prosecutors filed a motion for pretrial detention, arguing Grace Desotle would pose a threat to her husband’s safety. This motion was denied by Judge William Mazanec III, and Grace Desotle was given numerous conditions of release, including committing no crimes, checking in with a probation officer, abstaining from any alcohol or drug usage, daily alcohol usage monitoring and not possessing any firearms or dangerous weapons.

She is due back in court on March 4 for a pretrial hearing.

Reach David McLellan at or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.

Greenfield Recorder

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Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


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