Sunnyside man claims paranoia led to murder of fiancee

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Stanley Pipes told the jury Friday that he was abused as a child and that was the catalyst to a downward spiral of anxiety that led him to shooting his fiancee because he says she was trying to steal his money. (KFSN)

A Sunnyside man is taking the stand for the first time Friday after allegedly murdering his fiancee.

Stanley Pipes is accused of shooting his fiancee Kristie Claassen at least seven times in December of 2015, and he doesn't deny it.

He spoke for the first time during trial Friday but not about the murder.

Pipes was the primary caregiver for his mom and brother, and detectives say Pipes believed Claassen was trying to steal his money needed to take care of his family.

They say Pipes told his family he did what was necessary to protect them. On the stand, Pipes told troubles from his childhood, telling the court he was molested by a church youth director as a teenager.

"It was an inappropriate touching, he would reach across and begin to sneak up on me," he told the court. "And he would grab at my genital area."

He says the betrayal he felt by the church led to a downward spiral of alcohol and drug use and a lifetime of anxiety and panic attacks. He says when he sought treatment for his anxiety, but he had to stop taking the medication prescribed to him because of side effects he experienced, saying he felt threatened.

"It felt like the people in the store the shoppers and even the store personnel were going to harm me," he said.

He also says he's had multiple experiences where he's lost consciousness but says a neurologist diagnosed him with transient global amnesia, and as far as he understands, it was not something that should happen again.

"I had no conscious memory of leaving the house, going to the fast food restaurant buying the food or returning with it," Pipes told the court.

Pipes is being charged with first-degree murder.

"Our position is because of mental disorders that he had that overwhelmed him at the time of the incident that he is not guilty of either level of murder but, in fact, is guilty of manslaughter," defense attorney Salvatore Sciandra argued.

The court did not get to discuss the alleged murder of Claassen in court Friday, but Pipes' attorney says he'll continue their testimony Monday.

Related Topics:
homicide investigationfresno countySunnyside
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