December 2, 2023

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Charges Dropped On RO Who Shot Out Truck Tires

BENNINGTON — The state has dismissed the case of a Bennington man accused of shooting out the tires of a truck repossessing his vehicle and pointing a rifle at the repossession workers.

The defendant, Christopher Denio Sr., 67, had been facing multiple felony and misdemeanor charges in the September 2020 incident outside his residence. His charges included two felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment and criminal threatening.

According to Bennington police, Denio had tried to prevent a New York-based auto repossession company from taking his Toyota SUV on Sept. 8 of last year. Denio reportedly tried to drive his vehicle off the wrecker lift; after failing to do so, he grabbed a 6 mm rifle from his home and pointed it at the wrecker driver through the truck’s glass window.

Police said Denio then shot out the truck’s driver- and passenger-side tires, which also damaged the tire rims. The incident was supposedly recorded on video by a second occupant of the repossession truck. Police also reported finding 6 mm shell casings and 6 mm rounds near the wrecker.

In a statement of probable cause for the charges, the investigator said Denio had a criminal record in Vermont and was prohibited from possessing firearms.

On May 14, the Bennington Superior criminal court approved the agreement of both the county state’s attorney’s office and Denio to dismiss his charges without prejudice. The parties’ notice of resolution states that prosecutors can refile the charges anytime until May 1, 2026, under the following circumstances: Denio is charged with a new crime and the court finds probable cause, he contacts any of the case victims and he possesses or buys a firearm.

Denio, in a separate letter filed in court, said he was gifting his rifle to his son, who would make arrangements to pick up the firearm from the Bennington Police Department.

It wasn’t immediately unclear why the state decided to dismiss the case. The prosecutor, Deputy State’s Attorney Alex Burke, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Denio’s attorney, Rachel Strecker, hadn’t returned messages asking for comment as of press time Friday.


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