WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Two Rhode Island State Police troopers took the stand Tuesday morning in the bench trial for a man accused of brutally beating a West Greenwich man to death in May of 2016.
Christian Lepore, 35, is facing a murder charge in last year’s death of John O’Neil, 62. Lepore is also facing simple assault charges and a cruelty to police animals charge after prosecutors said he attacked three officers, a state trooper and the trooper’s K-9 officer.
During Tuesday’s testimony, Trooper Justin Androzi took the stand. He was one of the first officers to arrive on scene.
He testified that Lepore was naked, screaming vulgarities and talking gibberish.
Androzi said he used a stun gun in an attempt to subdue Lepore, but it seemingly had no effect. The trooper said Lepore stood there staring before ripping the prongs out of his body.
Androzi said he then released his police K9, instructing the dog to bite Lepore in the midsection. However, Androzi said Lepore put the dog in a headlock and began repeatedly punching the animal.
Androzi testified it eventually took four officers to get Lepore – who was reportedly threatening to kill officers and spitting blood at them – to the ground. He said the stun gun, K-9 and pepper spray had little effect on the defendant.
Both troopers testified they believed Lepore may have been on drugs, and one said he thought the defendant may be mentally ill.
Lepore’s defense team contends that Lepore is mentally ill and therefore was not able to intend to kill O’Neil. According to a defense attorney, a co-worker of Lepore testified Monday and said Lepore was pacing and talking about government conspiracies involving aliens just hours before he allegedly killed O’Neil.