Murder suspect to be arraigned in Greenfield District Court

Greenfield murder suspect Taaniel Herberger-Brown, surrounded by Albany County Sheriff’s Office staff, appears before Judge William Little at Albany County Court on May 31. Following his extradition from New York, Herberger-Brown will be arraigned in Greenfield District Court on Tuesday.

Greenfield murder suspect Taaniel Herberger-Brown, surrounded by Albany County Sheriff’s Office staff, appears before Judge William Little at Albany County Court on May 31. Following his extradition from New York, Herberger-Brown will be arraigned in Greenfield District Court on Tuesday. STAFF FILE PHOTO/ANTHONY CAMMALLERI

By ANTHONY CAMMALLERI

Staff Writer

Published: 07-08-2024 7:21 PM

GREENFIELD — More than two months after police found the body of Christopher Hairston, 35, of Pittsfield, decomposing inside 42-year-old Taaniel Herberger-Brown’s Chapman Street apartment, the suspect will be arraigned in Greenfield District Court on Tuesday on a murder charge.

On Monday, Massachusetts State Police traveled to New York, took custody of Herberger-Brown, and transported him to Greenfield. He will be held overnight at the Franklin County Jail and House of Correction pending his arraignment on Tuesday morning.

Herberger-Brown was arrested on the murder charge on April 23 at the Albany International Airport, one day after a report of a foul odor led police to discover Hairston’s body at 92 Chapman St. Herberger-Brown was held in a New York detention facility until June 28, when he waived his right to an extradition hearing.

The police report states that Herberger-Brown initially told authorities he had been in and out of hospitals and hadn’t been at his apartment in months, but later told investigators he got into a physical fight with someone who had broken into his home. Toward the end of the altercation, Herberger-Brown told police that the victim’s “heart stopped.”

A Northampton High School Class of 1999 graduate, four-year honor roll student and U.S. Navy veteran, Herberger-Brown has had earlier brushes with the law, such as an incident in February 2008, when he was arrested on kidnapping and assault charges in Northampton for allegedly “keeping his girlfriend against her will in a hotel bathroom while holding a broken ceramic dish to her neck,” according to a Daily Hampshire Gazette report.

Herberger-Brown also is known locally for his community service. Herberger-Brown was featured in a 2021 Washington Post article for his volunteer work at Stone Soup Cafe in Greenfield. Stone Soup Cafe Executive Director and Chef Kirsten Levitt previously referred to the suspect as a “respected and cared-for member of [the] community” at the time the article was written. Levitt said Herberger-Brown would volunteer at Stone Soup Cafe almost every week.

Northwestern First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne will be handling the arraignment for the state. Herberger-Brown will be represented by Springfield attorney Nicholas Horgan.

Gagne recently said the DA’s office has been working around the clock to gather evidence in Herberger-Brown’s case.

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“The investigation has remained very active and ongoing,” Gagne previously said. “The lead investigator and myself have been working on this case pretty much every day since [Herberger-Brown’s arrest]. We’re interviewing additional witnesses and we’re gathering additional evidence. I would say things are proceeding very well.”

Horgan previously declined to comment on his client’s case. He could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Anthony Cammalleri can be reached at acammalleri@recorder.com or 413-930-4429.