By David Scribner
June 28, 2011
David A. Pixley, the Great Barrington resident who last week allegedly set fire to two downtown buildings and had prepared to set ablaze five others and three vehicles, will now be receiving treatment for a chronic psychological condition at a Veterans Affairs hospital outside Northampton.
In a court hearing Monday, Judge Bethzaida Sanabria-Vega remanded the 62-year-old Great Barrington native for treatment at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Leeds, where he will be confined to a lock-down unit.
Pixley has so far not been in a condition where he can enter a plea – or have a plea entered for him – on the 10 counts of arson and attempted arson.
His son, attorney David Pixley of Pittsfield, noted that his father, who served in Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, from 1969 through 1975, and had reached the rank of sergeant, had received an honorable discharge for a psychological disability. He was stationed on Okinawa, where he was a maintenance expert, and did not see combat duty.
A week before his arrest last Wednesday night, Pixley had spent eight weeks in Jones II, the psychological treatment ward of Berkshire Medical Center. It was at that facility that he had received, prior to his release, a new regimen of medicine for his condition, according to court assigned physician, Dr. Roger Goldin, director for forensic services. It was that change of medicine to treat a bipolar disorder, Goldin said, that exacerbated Pixley’s unstable mental state.
Pixley was a regular customer at Fuel Coffee House on Main Street in Great Barrrington where he was described by patrons as a quiet, unassuming artist who had planned to exhibit his work in the coffee shop gallery.