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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Second-degree murder charge vs Hocog dismissed

Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman dismissed yesterday the second-degree murder charge filed against the suspect in the fatal assault on a jobless man in Kagman.

In a written order, Wiseman said he does not find probable cause to believe that the crime of murder in the second degree filed against Shane Jonathan Hocog was committed. Hocog is suspected of assaulting Larry Gonzales, causing his death.

In Monday’s preliminary hearing, Wiseman found probable cause to believe that murder in the second degree, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and battery, and assault and battery, were committed. Wiseman ruled in that hearing that the person who may have committed the offenses is Hocog.

Yesterday, Wiseman amended his order by reconsidering his prior decision on the murder in the second-degree charge.

“Although the court found probable cause that there was an unlawful killing of a human being, it must be with malice aforethought to constitute murder in the second degree,” he said.

Malice aforethought, the judge pointed out, usually includes deliberated design to take the life of a person.

In this case, Wiseman said, there appears to be no intent to take a life.

“The only evidence presented at the hearing revealed an altercation, apparently in the heat of a passion, which consisted of one punch by defendant to the facial area of the alleged victim,” he said.

Despite yesterday’s decision, the 22-year-old Hocog is still being held for the remaining charges.

Arraignment was set for Monday at 9am.

Police arrested Hocog on March 4. Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo imposed a $100,000 cash bail for his temporary release.

Gonzales, a 37-year-old Filipino, was pronounced dead by a doctor at the Commonwealth Health Center on March 4 at 4:45pm due to severe head injury. He was comatose since being taken to CHC on March 1.

Police said Hocog punched Gonzales in the face near Kagman High School on March 1. Police said the punch caused the victim to fall and hit his head on the concrete pavement.

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