NEWPORT CITY – Based on medical records and a stipulation by State's Attorney Alan Franklin, Judge Howard VanBenthuysen said Tuesday that Roger Pion is currently incompetent to stand trial.
Pion, 34, is accused of demolishing seven vehicles parked behind the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department. He appeared in Orleans County District Court Tuesday for a competency hearing. He is currently in the custody of the Commissioner of Mental Health and is being held at Fletcher Allen Healthcare Center in Burlington.
State’s Attorney Alan Franklin said the state would like to revisit the current incompetency status in 90 days.
“I think the competency statute always allows the state to revisit competency,” said Pion’s attorney David Sleigh. “But I think the procedure is, if you were to find him incompetent at this point, then there would be a hospitalization hearing – to automatically be triggered.”
Sleigh believes a hospitalization could lead to the dismissal of the criminal case against Pion. However, the state could always file the charges again if it feels that Pion's competency has been restored enough for him to stand trial.
There is an involuntarily commitment order against Pion but there is no order for involuntarily medication. He is committed under orders in what attorneys referred to as a "parallel proceeding."
“I think that throws us in a little bit different light,” said Franklin. “The parallel proceeding commenced after he was arraigned in these charges.”