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College of Saint Rose in Albany makes closure official

Death at Berkshire House of Correction ruled a suicide

A green awning with a sheriff's badge logo is in front of a beige building under a blue sky
Josh Landes
The Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Authorities in western Massachusetts have determined the death of an inmate at the Berkshire County House of Correction Sunday was a suicide. State Police continue to investigate the death of Stavri Yanka.

The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office says members of the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office found the 34-year-old unresponsive in his cell around 4:30 p.m. Correctional staff called 911 and attempted lifesaving measures. Yanka was taken to Berkshire Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be asphyxiation and the manner of death as suicide.

The DA’s office says the Sheriff’s Office booked Yanka into the facility on Thursday after Adams Police arrested him on felony breaking and entering charges. He was awaiting trial on an assault and battery charge when Adams Police arrested him and the court ordered Yanka to be detained for violating his conditions of release.

The Sheriff’s Office said staff performed mental health and medical screenings on Yanka when he entered the facility and he did not exhibit an elevated risk of harming himself.

“I send my condolences to Mr. Yanka’s family, friends during this very difficult time. I thank House of Correction staff for their response and attempts to save Mr. Yanka’s life and the State Police Detective Unit for their investigation into the matter,” District Attorney Andrea Harrington said.

If you or anyone you know are struggling, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org