Conway woman arrested on assault, numerous gun charges

Staff Writer
Published: 1/23/2020 12:09:16 AM

CONWAY — Police responding to a domestic disturbance ended up seizing seven firearms, including a fully automatic weapon, from a woman with no license to carry or firearms identification card (FID).

Grace M. Desotle, 58, of Conway, was arrested at her home on 19 charges, including possessing a machine gun; two counts of assault and battery on a police officer; assault and battery on a family member; assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; and six counts of possessing a firearm without an FID.

According to a police report by State Trooper George D’Amelio, included in court documents, there are “potential criminal charges” against Grace Desotle’s husband, John Desotle, and son, Westley Desotle, if an investigation involving State Police and other law enforcement agencies finds they illegally possessed the firearms.

A report of a domestic disturbance came in to the State Police barracks in Shelburne around 7:35 p.m. on Saturday, D’Amelio wrote.

D’Amelio and other troopers, as well as Ashfield and Buckland Police, responded to a South Shirkshire Road residence in Conway. There, the report states, they found John Desotle outside the home, alleging his wife punched and hit him and came at him with a knife.

D’Amelio and another trooper approached the home before Grace Desotle allegedly charged at them while screaming and flailing her hands. According to D’Amelio’s report, it was difficult to tell whether she had a weapon in her hands as she charged.

Grace Desotle did not have a weapon in her hands, but allegedly kicked officers, threatened officers and asked them to kill her, D’Amelio’s report states.

EMTs evaluated Desotle for her cut and bleeding hands. According to police, John Desotle said his wife’s wounds were not self-inflicted, but the result of waving knives around while drunk. EMTs later reported to D’Amelio that Grace Desotle said she planned to kill her husband and herself.

A search of the home found two knives, which John Desotle identified as the ones his wife had used during the assault, D’Amelio’s report states.

Subsequent searches yielded seven firearms, including a loaded shotgun and an unloaded “AK-47 style” rifle underneath a bed in unlocked cases; an unlocked case with a loaded .45-caliber pistol and a fully automatic TEC-9 style firearm; and several more guns in a locked safe, according to D’Amelio’s report.

Neither Grace Desotle nor John Desotle, who said he “honestly forgot” about the guns, has a license to carry or an FID card in Massachusetts, D’Amelio stated.

According to D’Amelio’s report, John Desotle said the guns belonged to his son, Westley Desotle, who lives in Virginia, and John Desotle was compliant with the officers, opening the locked safe to show them the guns. When he opened the safe, Desotle allegedly remarked that one of the guns was his.

Westley Desotle had a Massachusetts license to carry that expired in 2018, with the issuing agency being Weymouth, not Conway, the report states.

 Grace Desotle was arraigned Tuesday in Greenfield District Court. Prosecutors filed a motion for pretrial detention, arguing she would pose a threat to her husband’s safety.

Judge William Mazanec III denied the motion and ordered numerous conditions of release, including committing no crimes, checking in with a probation officer, abstaining from any alcohol or drug usage, daily alcohol usage monitoring and not possessing any firearms or dangerous weapons.

She is due back in court on March 4 for a pretrial hearing.

David McLellan can be reached at or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.

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