Saturday, September 15, 2012

Reedsport . OR: Standoff subject tormented girlfriend

The man who killed himself during a standoff with police in Reedsport Wednesday had a history of domestic violence, court documents show.

Benny Shawn Lee Pishione, 46, who went by 'Shawn," was arrested three times in Coos County following domestic incidents with the same 47-year-old woman he allegedly kidnapped from the Silver Dollar Tavern early Wednesday morning.

Three felony warrants, including possession of an explosive device, are still outstanding for Pishione's arrest in Washoe County, Nev., after police there say he threw a small bomb wrapped with BBs into the woman's sister's house on July 11, 2011.

Police said Pishione was targeting the woman, who was his estranged girlfriend.

Bipolar disorder

The woman, who asked The World to conceal her identity, said Pishione -- whom she had known for 15 years -- had bipolar disorder and had threatened to kill her and her family on multiple occasions.

'I guess he was obsessed with me," the woman said.

Three days after the bombing -- on July 14, 2011 -- Coos County Sheriff's deputies were called to the woman's home near Allegany. She told deputies Pishione -- in a 'meth psychosis" and carrying a semi-automatic pistol -- cut the phone lines to her house and broke in.

A restraining order the woman had against Pishione had expired hours earlier, and he had not been served with a new one, according to court documents.

The woman was able to grab a shotgun and keep Pishione at bay while he threatened her for over two hours. Pishione eventually left the house, and no one was harmed, court documents indicated.

Threatened daughter

While deputies were investigating the alleged burglary, they came across threats Pishione had made against the woman's now 17-year-old daughter, in which he said he would tie her up and let pit bulls attack her until she died.

Pishione left 21 other messages with the woman which included 'very graphic examples of how he was going to kill her family," according to court documents.

Police then tracked Pishione's cell phone to Madera, Calif., just about a 90-minute drive from where the woman's daughter was staying.

On July 16, two days after the alleged burglary, the woman called police and told them Pishione had sent her a message saying he had paid $5,000 to put a 'hit" on the woman's daughter.

That same day, police in Madera found and arrested Pishione, who had the same gun he had used in the alleged home invasion.

Recants complaint

Pishione was extradited to Coos County, but burglary and menacing charges against him were later dropped after Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier said the woman recanted her original story.

The woman told The World she recanted because she couldn't handle Pishione's going to prison.

'Him going to prison wasn't going to work for me," she said.

'I don't understand my reasoning for protecting him for as long as I did. I haven't figured it out yet. I protected him to the end."

Pishione was convicted in November 2011 on 12 counts of violating a restraining order. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail. Pishione had been sentenced 90 days in jail in January 2011 after he was charged in September 2010 with on one count of violating a restraining order. Both convictions were in relation to restraining orders the woman had filed against Pishione.

Coos Bay kidnapping

The parking lot of the Silver Dollar Tavern was crowded with people when Pishione walked up to the woman's car with a brick and threatened her to let him in.

She unlocked the door, with her good friend sitting in the front seat, and the three drove to a convenience store to get cigarettes.

The woman convinced her friend to get out of the car, and Pishione ordered her to drive toward Reedsport.

'I just drove," the woman said. 'He was saying 'I just want to talk to you.' I figured he was going to kill me."

The two drove to a logging road in between Gardiner and Florence where the woman prepared herself to die.

She said she thought about her daughter a lot, but wasn't afraid to die because as she put it, 'I didn't fear death anymore after being with him."

'I kept asking if he was going to kill me," she said. 'He said 'I love you way too much to kill you.'"

Signaled suicide

The woman said it was clear Pishione wanted to end his life and wanted to talk to her before he did it.

After talking for a while, the woman convinced Pishione she wouldn't 'give him up" to police, and he let her go.

The next time the woman spoke to Pishione he was surrounded by police inside the Fir Grove motel in Reedsport.

Police located him there after searching for him following the alleged kidnapping. When they knocked on his door to talk to him, police say Pishione tried to jump out the back window but was unsuccessful.

He then asked police for permission to talk to the woman, and officers consented.

'He was at peace'

The woman said Pishione was very calm for the entire time they spoke, which she said was for about an hour.

'He was at peace with himself," she said.

'He said he was sorry and it wasn't my fault. He said he was OK with what he was doing and he couldn't go to prison."

The woman said Pishione had been telling her for months he was going to kill himself. She said he was off his medication for bipolar disorder.

'I knew he was going to do it," she said about Pishione killing himself.

'It's not good if anybody dies, but he is not suffering anymore."

Police enter room

When police entered his room around 2 p.m., with a K-9 officer, Pishione, locked in the bathroom, put a .38 caliber pistol beneath his chin and ended his life.

Reedsport police chief Mark Fandrey said they found three shell casings in the revolver, although it is unclear when or where Pishione was firing.

The woman said Pishione, whose father was a police officer in Fresno for 38 years, would 'never fire at police." She said his intent the entire time was to end his life.

'I don't want people to think of him as this bad person," she said. 'He was mentally ill. He helped a lot of people and was a good guy."

'A mad love affair'

Fandrey said he knew the standoff wouldn't end well and that police couldn't let him leave the motel for the safety of the woman and the community.

'Don't think that when this is done we don't second-guess ourselves," he said.

'But we have to weigh public safety and the (victim's) safety. We hoped he would come out and surrender. That wasn't the case."

The woman says she doesn't know why she tired to protect Pishione even though he caused her so much grief.

'We had a mad love affair," she said.

'I was madly in love with him. I guess when you are bi-polar you just get a thought in your head and you can't get it out.

'I will miss him."

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