Man denies charges for home-invasion assaults on elderly nuns

2013-09-05T13:28:00Z 2014-11-24T19:25:07Z Man denies charges for home-invasion assaults on elderly nunsBy GREG TUTTLE The Billings Gazette

A man accused of breaking into the Billings home shared by two elderly retired nuns and beating them was arraigned Thursday in Yellowstone County District Court.

Christopher Samuel Pine, 32, appeared before Judge Mary Jane Knisely by video from the county jail and pleaded not guilty to two counts of felony aggravated burglary.

Pine also denied a misdemeanor charge of possessing drug paraphernalia.

Knisely set bond at $250,000.

Pine is accused of the Aug. 14 break-in at the home on Gregory Drive South of Sister Mary Vincentia Maronick, 90, and Sister Clara Scherr, 79. The elderly women, retired nuns from the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, were severely beaten.

During the attack, Maronick later told investigators, Scherr began to pray.

"God won't help you tonight," the assailant responded, according to court records.

Both women suffered serious injuries and were treated at St. Vincent Healthcare. They were later transferred to a transitional care facility.   

Pine was arrested after police found surveillance video of three people driving a car stolen from a similar home-invasion robbery the night before the attack on the nuns. The suspects were also using credit cards stolen from the three women.

On Aug. 13, a 76-year-old woman was attacked and robbed in her home on 11th Street West. She escaped serious injury.

Police have identified the man and woman shown with Pine in the surveillance video, but no further arrests have been made and no charges have been filed for the Aug. 13 home-invasion robbery.   

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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