PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- A North Adams man accused of murdering his elderly neighbor is fighting the state over whether he must provide a DNA sample.
The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office wants David A. Delratez, 41, to submit to a cheek swabbing to allow for DNA comparison as part of the investigation into the murder of 84-year-old Ellen DePaoli in her North Adams home.
According to Second Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Robert W. Kinzer III, there were stains that tested pre-emptively positive for blood on one of Delratez’s hands, on his clothes, in the Bennington, Vt., apartment he was found in, and in the victim’s car, among other areas.
On Sept. 17, police discovered DePaoli’s body inside her Walker Street home after they received a 911 call reporting her death. Police said she head been beaten and stabbed to death.
The investigation soon centered on Delratez, a friend of the woman’s son and a frequent visitor to the DePaoli home, according to police.
Delratez was arrested two days later in Bennington, Vt. The victim’s 2005 Ford Taurus sedan was located nearby by Vermont police.
The defendant denied killing the woman, telling police he was called over to the residence by a drug dealer he only knew as "Jim Jim" and another man and that DePaoli was already injured when he got there, according to investigators.
Delratez told police he was forced by the men to drive DePaoli’s car to New York state. After going on a two-day drinking binge, he went to stay with a friend in Bennington, he allegedly told police.
Delratez’s lawyer, Nathaniel K. Green, argued in Berkshire Superior Court on Thursday that the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office hadn’t met its burden in showing sufficient evidence that his client’s DNA was needed to aid in the investigation.
Kinzer said this was a homicide case and that there was "sufficient evidence to compel a DNA sample."
Judge John A. Agostini is taking the motion under advisement.
There was no decision made as of Thursday afternoon, according to the clerk’s office.
No trial date has been set but a status date was scheduled for Sept. 11.
Delratez remains held at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction without bail. He has denied charges of first-degree murder and larceny of a motor vehicle. He also has pleaded not guilty to unrelated charges of breaking and entering for a misdemeanor, malicious destruction of property under $250 and use of a motor vehicle without authority. Delratez allegedly broke into his ex-wife’s Walker Street home and used her car without permission on Sept. 13.