A man previously charged with attacking two elderly nuns in their Billings home now faces additional charges for a similar attack on another elderly woman.
Christopher Samuel Pine appeared in Yellowstone County District Court on Tuesday by video from the county jail to be arraigned on amended charges related to the attacks Aug. 13 and 14.
Pine, 32, pleaded not guilty to three counts of robbery, three counts of deceptive practices and one count of intimidation. He also denied misdemeanor charges of tampering with a communication device and possessing drug paraphernalia.
Judge Russell Fagg maintained Pine’s bond at $250,000.
The new charging documents filed Tuesday provide further details of the violent assaults on the three elderly women.
The documents also reveal that the victims reported that there were two assailants involved in the attacks.
So far, Pine is the only person charged with the crimes. A prosecutor said Tuesday that police continue to search for the second assailant, and others involved with using the victim’s stolen credit cards may be charged.
At about 12:40 a.m. Aug. 13 court documents say, a 76-year-old woman was attacked in her home on 11th Street West. She escaped serious injury.
The woman later told police she awoke to a noise in her living room. She thought the noise was her cat, went to the living room to check and was met by a man wearing dark clothing and a hood over his head.
The man shined a flashlight in her eyes, she said, then pushed her to the floor. The intruder began yelling, demanding the woman turn over money and her car keys.
The woman said she was then forced to lie on a bed and the man demanded jewelry and pain pills. The man pulled a phone out of the wall and said he had a police scanner. He threatened to return and kill her if she called police.
The woman later told police she heard but did not see a second person in the house during the robbery.
The robbers took her Buick Park Avenue, credit cards, a bicycle, a Blu-ray DVD, televisions and tools, court records state.
Police later learned that the woman’s stolen credit cards had been used numerous times over the following 12 hours at businesses throughout Billings.
The nuns were attacked the next night.
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Sister Mary Vincentia Maronick, 90, and Sister Clara Scherr, 79, told police they were in their residence on Gregory Drive South at about 2:45 a.m. Aug. 14 when they were attacked.
The women are retired nuns of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. Both women suffered serious injuries and remain in a transitional care facility, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
Scherr told police she awoke to someone in her room and believed it was Maronick.
“What are you looking for?” the woman asked.
Scherr said she then saw two men in her room and told them to get out. One of the men hit her with an object and threw her into a chair.
The woman said she screamed when one of the men grabbed her neck. The man muffled her with his hand, then left the room.
The second man then pulled her out of the chair by her hair, threw her on the floor and began beating her.
Maronick said she heard a noise from Scherr’s room and thought the television was still on. She went to the bedroom and saw a man beating Scherr, who was on the floor. The man stomped on Scherr’s face and head with his boot as she was praying, Maronick said.
“God won’t help you tonight,” the man said, Maronick told police.
Maronick said she tried to stop the man but was knocked to the floor. The man began screaming and stomping on her while demanding she give him the “code.”
Maronick said she was confused by the demand at first, but then gave him the first four digits of her credit card number, court records state.
Maronick said the attack lasted five to 10 minutes.
Credit cards stolen during the robbery were used that morning four times, between about 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., court records state. Police later released a still image from a business surveillance video showing three people where one of the stolen credit cards was used.
Pine was arrested two days later in the stolen Buick Park Avenue outside a Billings motel at about 1:30 a.m. Prosecutors said a glass pipe was found in his clothing.
Pine was initially charged with two counts of aggravated burglary. Prosecutors said in the new charging documents that the state crime lab identified his fingerprint on an item in the nun’s house.