3-year-old’s family to speak during Laniyo’s sentencing


The Superior Court is giving family members of the deceased 3-year-old boy a chance to address Stacey Laniyo, the child’s guardian who was found guilty of child abuse following his death, during her sentencing that will take place on Oct. 15.

In his order last Wednesday, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho said the court will give ample time at the sentencing hearing for the child’s family members to speak if they wish to address the court to clear up any confusion.

This was ordered because an aunt of the child who testified during Laniyo’s trial was reportedly not aware that the child had died from an unrelated internal infection and she had wrongly assumed that the child died from being hit on the leg by a broom.

The judge stated in his order that the court will hold a sentencing hearing for Laniyo on Oct. 15, at 2:30pm. However, before the sentencing, Camacho scheduled a motion hearing on the defendant’s motion for a new trial on the same day at 10am.

The court scheduled both hearings for the same day to avoid unnecessary delays, urging the lawyers to focus on facts when they argue the motion for a new trial.

Camacho reminded the parties that the death of the 3-year-old boy was not a homicide case but a child abuse case and to focus on that fact during the hearing. “This case is not about a homicide, that is why the Office of the Attorney General did not file murder or manslaughter charges,” he said.

The judge also noted that two doctors examined the child, and an autopsy confirmed that the child died from an internal stomach and throat infection totally unrelated to a physical strike to his leg.

“This case is about child abuse regarding the defendant, Stacey Laniyo, hitting a young child with a broomstick. The incident of the broomstick happened many days before the child died from the unrelated internal infection. As tragic as the death of the child [was], the medical testimony is clear—the death of the child was not caused by the strike to his leg by the broomstick,” he stated.

Laniyo and her partner, Lynn Fitial, were arrested following the death of the 3-year-old boy in March 2020. The boy was an adopted son of Fitial and was in the care of Laniyo. As for Fitial, the prosecution said she failed to provide medical care for the boy resulting in his death.

Laniyo and Fitial were each charged with one count of child abuse. The court granted their request to have separate trials.

Following a jury trial in June, Laniyo, was found guilty of one count of child abuse.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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