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What you need to know for 06/25/2017

Mass. couple offers their account of casino fight

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Mass. couple offers their account of casino fight

No sex arrangement was made, they say
Mass. couple offers their account of casino fight
Elizabeth Araiza, left, and Dmitri Houff.

A Massachusetts couple arrested in connection with a fight last weekend at the Rivers Casino gave a vastly different account of the incident Friday to The Daily Gazette. Police had said the fight involved an arrangement for group sex.

The couple said a group of three people accosted them, and they had seen only one of the three briefly sometime earlier in the night.

They also said they made no agreement whatsoever with the other individuals, much less any agreement about sex as reported by police.

Police arrested three people in connection with the early Sunday incident, Elizabeth Araiza, 49, and Dmitri Houff, 62, both of North Adams, Mass., and Judy Maxwell, 21, of Troy.

Araiza and Maxwell were charged with violation disorderly conduct related to the fight. Araiza and Houff were also charged with misdemeanor obstruction, accused of failing to follow officer commands afterward.

Police spokesman Sgt. Matthew Dearing on Thursday said the argument erupted over an agreement between the three for sex when someone suggested adding a four person. "I don't know who told [the arresting officers] that, but one of those three people told them that," Dearing said.

But both Araiza and Houff said a discussion over sex never happened. Houff called such allegations horrible and impossible. "That's completely false," Houff said.

They've contacted the casino and are trying to get surveillance footage of the incident. They're still working to get attorneys for their criminal cases. They're due back in court Wednesday.

A number listed in police records for Maxwell appeared to be a wrong number Friday. Maxwell could not be reached for comment.

The Araiza and Houff said they traveled to the Capital Region last weekend to shop, then decided to check out the casino.

They said they sat at the bar for about four hours having drinks when a woman came up to them and gave Araiza a card about modeling. Araiza said she talked briefly with the woman to be polite, and then the woman walked away.

Some time later, Araiza and Houff got up to try the slot machines.

"I stood up at my chair and she bum rushed us," Araiza said of the woman. "She ran in between me and Dmitri, put her arm around me."
Araiza said the woman touched her breast and a second woman tried to talk to Houff. They believed a third person was also with the women and that the woman who offered the card earlier was among them.

A fight began between Araiza and the woman who accosted her, Araiza said, but she said she was only trying to defend herself.

Araiza and Houff said they were calm and at the bar when officers arrived. Araiza is accused in court documents of fighting with Maxwell and continuing to fight after officers arrived. Court documents accuse Maxwell of throwing a glass.

Araiza is also accused of refusing to get up off the floor and walk to the police car after being handcuffed. Araiza said she has documented medical conditions that prevent her from getting up and walking properly and said she told officers that. She said she has bruises as a result of the incident with police.

None of the charges relate to whatever prompted the fight.

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