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Not guilty plea in North Adams homicide case

PITTSFIELD, MA -- A North Adams man has pleaded not guilty to murdering an elderly woman last month before a judge, his own family, and the daughter of the victim.
It was a brief appearance, but one which begins the process of finding out what role David Delratez, 41, may have played in the death of Ellen DePaoli, 84.  Court documents suggest DePaoli was someone the man knew, would eat dinner with, even stay at her home, and was friends with her son.  Delratez was read the most serious charge on a grand jury indictment Wednesday.

A cry came from Delratez's loved ones, who have said they stand by the accused -- even after he was apprehended across state lines in Bennington, Vermont, several days after DePaoli's death.  At that time, Delratez was found not far from DePaoli's missing car.  Police papers said a knife was found in that car, consistent with the type of weapon used to stab the victim.  We went to talk to the public defender representing Delratez, but he wouldn't talk on camera.  He did tell CBS6 though that his client's plea spoke for itself -- proclaiming his innocence "loudly, clearly, and affirmatively."

Delratez winked at his family as he was led out of court. 

Despite that plea today, court papers from Vermont claim Delratez said at the time of his arrest, "I loved that old woman.  I hurt that old woman.  I could see it in her eyes."

Delratez is scheduled to return to Berkshire Superior Court for a pretrial hearing at the end of April.  Until then he's being held without bail at the Berkshire County jail.
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