Case continued for former New Castle police chief accused of drunkenly threatening neighbor with assault rifle

An ongoing case involving a former New Castle police chief accused of drunkenly threatening a neighbor with a loaded, AK-style rifle last summer is being continued.

Ninth Judicial District Judge Ann Norrdin granted a continuation for Tony Pagni, now 59, during a Tuesday morning arraignment. Pagni’s next appearance is set for 11 a.m. Jan. 24.

Ninth District Attorney Jefferson Cheney requested the continuation to allow enough time to speak with the victim over a possible outcome to the case.

“I would need at least until the next docket to VRA (Victim Rights Act),” Cheney said. “I’ve already started communicating with the victim on a potential outcome to the case.”

Tony Pagni

Pagni’s defense attorney, Nick James, said they are in support of the continuance and that Pagni continues to maintain sobriety and treatment.

“I think the hope is that we have a resolution by then,” James said. 

Pagni is accused of being drunk and carrying an AK-style semi-automatic rifle around his residential neighborhood just outside of New Castle around 9 p.m. on July 29, 2022. He is also accused of pointing the muzzle of the weapon into a neighbor’s chest, but did not fire the weapon. He’d later peacefully surrender to New Castle police officers without incident.

Pagni is charged with felony menacing involving a deadly weapon, as well as misdemeanor counts of prohibited use of a weapon while intoxicated and harassment. 

He was fired from his job as police chief soon after his arrest. After initially being released on a personal recognizance bond, Pagni has since been required to post a $3,000 bond and was ordered by the court not to possess firearms or possess or consume drugs or alcohol. Information regarding whether Pagni has consistently passed urine analyses would be found in pre-trial reports, which are being suppressed by order of the court. 

The Post Independent has requested transcriptions from Pagni’s previous court appearance on Dec. 13, 2022. The transcriptions have yet to be provided.

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