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Pippin indicted in courthouse fire, threat

By Messenger Staff | Published Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Decatur man accused of trying to set fire to the Wise County courthouse and making a death threat to a prosecutor has been indicted on numerous charges by a grand jury.

Johnny Roy Pippin Jr., 26, was indicted Nov. 16 for retaliation, a third-degree felony, and arson intended to damage a place of assembly, a first-degree felony.

On the morning of Sept. 5, a thick, white, acrid smoke spread through the third floor of the courthouse, causing an evacuation of the building. Fire investigators found a bowl containing a burning substance in the bottom of a trash can in a third-floor bathroom.

The day before, a county employee had come across a handwritten message on the wall in a men’s bathroom in the courthouse basement. It contained several threats, including a threat to kill County Attorney James Stainton.

Review of security footage from the day the threat was discovered revealed Pippin carrying a backpack into the courthouse. Investigators believe he set up the bowl and chemicals in the trash can on the third floor bathroom at about 4:30 that afternoon, a day before he was scheduled to have a court appearance for a misdemeanor weapons charge.

He was due to be sentenced to 50 days in jail. Wise County Sheriff David Walker said the threat and attempted arson was a way for Pippin to try to get out of his court appearance.

Pippin was charged in the case Oct. 2.

The grand jury also indicted Pippin on a charge of theft of property valued between $1,500 and $20,000. According to the indictment, Pippin stole five laptops, a motorcycle helmet and a television in August of this year. And he was indicted for burglary of a building stemming from a June incident in which Pippin is accused of entering a building with the intent to commit theft.

Pippin is currently on probation after pleading guilty to felony charges of burglary in 2007.

He remains in the Wise County jail with bonds totalling more than $1 million.

The grand jury also returned the following felony indictments:

  • Raymond Dean Walker, assault family/household member by impeding breathing/circulation
  • Justin Wayne Wilson, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram
  • Thanh Tuan Wright, sexual assault
  • Thanh Tuan Wright, assault by intentionally or recklessly impeding the breathing/circulation of a family member with a previous conviction (one count); assault family/household member with previous conviction
  • Jimmie Dewayne Hudson, assault family/household member with previous conviction
  • Colton Skott Walker, aggravated assault causes serious bodily injury
  • Ted Burdell III, theft of material (copper) less than $20,000 (two counts)
  • Ted Burdell III, theft of material (copper) less than $20,000 (two counts)
  • Ted Burdell III, theft of property $1,500-$20,000
  • Ted Burdell III, burglary of a habitation
  • Ted Burdell III, theft of material (aluminum) less than $20,000
  • Russell Duane Spain, burglary of a habitation
  • Russell Duane Spain, theft of property $1,500-$20,000
  • Russell Duane Spain, theft of material (copper) less than $20,000
  • Patti June Basting, theft of property $1,500-$20,000
  • Mitchell Calvin Brown, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram
  • Raymond Santivanez Cortez, evading arrest/detention with vehicle (one count); manufacturing/delivering a controlled substance – methamphetamine 4-200 grams (one count); intent to impair physical evidence (one count)
  • Rance Cupp, theft of material (aluminum) less than $20,000
  • Randy Allen Gordon, fraudulent use/possession of identifying information less than five items (one count); credit or debit card abuse (four counts)
  • Randy Allen Gordon, theft of material (copper) less than $20,000
  • Carol Faye Jenkins, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram (one count); tamper fabricate evidence with intent to impair (one count)
  • Thomas Bradley McCool, aggravated sexual assault of a child (five counts); indecency with a child sexual contact (two counts)
  • William Farris Sisk Jr., driving while intoxicated third or
  • more

  • John Thomas Spears, driving while intoxicated third or more
  • Holly Leann Stapleton, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, 4-200 grams
  • Murry Joses Vidrine, forgery financial instrument

Messenger archive stories were used for this article.

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