NEWPORT — Roger Pion, 36, the Newport man accused of crushing six police cruisers with a farm tractor monster truck style, was in court on Tuesday morning to answer the charge of violation of conditions of release. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. Judge Howard VanBenthuysen released him on $5,000 bail.
The court had earlier scheduled jury selection in the trail for the several felony charges Pion is facing for this Thursday, but his attorney, Chandler Matson, requested that the date be pushed back. Pion will most likely stand trial in late March or April.
The charge of violation of conditions of release is relating to an incident on January 27, when Community Correctional Officer John Hardy dropped by at Roger Chaffee’s home in Newport City. While Hardy spoke with Chaffee, he noticed a man he said looked familiar, working on a pellet stove. When Hardy asked the man working on the stove his name, Pion identified himself.
The next day Hardy checked on Pion’s condition of release, which was to the custody of Armond or Linda Pion. Court records state that neither were at Chaffee’s home while the correctional officer was there.
Hardy contacted Senior Trooper Clark Lombardi about the possibility that Pion had violated his condition of release. Lombardi went to Pion’s home in Newport City on January 28, and took Pion to the state police barracks to process him and issue him a citation to appear in court on Tuesday.
State’s Attorney Alan Franklin requested a higher bail be set, but Pion’s attorney highlighted the fact that Pion had gone to the home to fix a pellet stove free of charge to help Chaffee out, and was there no longer than 45 minutes.
Judge Howard VanBenthuysen said that the charges against Pion are piling up, and that the bail was high enough to ensure that Roger Pion returns to court.Are you on Instagram? Cool. So are we. CLICK HERE to follow us for a behind the scenes look at Newport Dispatch.