Pippin indicted in second arson case

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, October 5, 2013

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A Decatur man already facing charges related to a fire at the courthouse and a death threat against an elected official last year has been indicted for allegedly starting a fire at a vacant home.

Johnny Roy Pippin Jr., 27, was indicted last week for arson in connection with a fire at a vacant home at 704 S. Trinity St. in Decatur Aug. 12, 2012.

Pippin was indicted last November for retaliation, a third-degree felony, and arson with intent to damage a place of assembly, a first-degree felony, in connection with the courthouse incident.

On Sept. 5 of last year, the courthouse was evacuated when smoke was seen in 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.

The latest indictment stems from an incident about a month prior to the courthouse fire and threat. According to information on file at the district clerk’s office, the Decatur Fire Department responded to the house fire and discovered two small dining bowls of “flaming material” in the garage and basement. Fire Chief Mike Richardson also noted a strong smell of chlorine.

Material in the bowls was sent off to a crime laboratory in Arlington, and the report concluded that the material included chloride and brake fluid.

Investigators working on the courthouse incident noted the similarity between the cases, as chlorine tablets and brake fluid had been used in the courthouse fire. Investigators searched Pippin’s home and found chlorine tablets, brake fluid and bowls with a pattern identical to those found at both fire scenes.

Pippin is also awaiting trial for theft of property between $1,500 and $20,000 and burglary of a building, both felonies, as well as a misdemeanor charge of theft of property $50 to $500. Prosecutors have also filed a motion to revoke probation for five previous convictions for burglary of a habitation.

The Wise County grand jury that met Wednesday, Sept. 25, also returned the following felony indictments:

Donald Ray Mullins, assault family/household member with previous conviction and possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, 1-4 grams

Shawn Ray Sanders, assault family/household member impede breath/circulation

Joshua Lance Sartain, assault family/household member with previous conviction

Allen Ray Weaver II, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon

Christopher Russell Ashby, aggravated assault against a public servant and evading arrest/detention with vehicle

Shelley Ann Cameron, possession of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, less than 1 gram

Robert Allen Falcon, possession of a controlled substance – alpha-Methylaminovalerophenone, less than 1 gram

Andrew Jean Sullivan, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon

Chol A. Ajak, driving while intoxicated third or more

Jeffery Allen Scheller, tamper with government record defraud/harm

Shirley Ann Stipes, obstruct retaliation and fraudulent use/possession of identifying information; Number of items less than five

David Lee Gaught, assault family/household member with previous conviction

Edgar Earl Jenkins Jr., injury to a child/elderly/disabled with intent to cause bodily injury

Dusty William Jobe, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon

Tony Limon, assault family/household member impede breath/circulation

Ricardo Luna, indecency with a child/sexual contact (one count); sexual assault of a child (one count)

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