The Office of the Public Defender wants the murder charges against Alfonso Sebastian Parongan be dismissed due to over 15 months delay in the trial.
Parongan, who is accused of stabbing his female landlord to death and injuring her husband in Chalan Kanoa, has been in prison since his arrest in 2017.
Assistant public defender Nancy A. Dominski, asked the Superior Court to dismiss the charges of first degree murder, attempted second degree murder, and assault with a dangerous weapon filed against Parongan for violation of his right to a speedy trial.
Dominski said Parongan suffered presumptive and actual prejudice due to the unjustified delay in bringing his case to trial. She said Parongan has been forced to wait over one year and three months for his case to be resolved.
“This factor weights in favor of dismissal,” she pointed out.
She argued that dismissal is only right because the government is responsible for the delay.
She said Parongan, through his counsel, asserted his right to a speedy trial under the Sixth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Article I of the CNMI, orally once each in September and October 2018.
Dominski said the defendant, through counsel, also asserted his right to a speedy trial in writing once again in October 2018 and another in December 2018.
She said Parongan specifically requested a jury trial setting at the last status conference last Jan. 30, but the court denied it.
“Since Mr. Parongan has repeatedly, and timely asserted his right to a speedy trial, this factor should be weighed heavily in his favor,” Dominski said.
Last November, assistant attorney general Robert Lee disclosed to the court that the prosecution’s own expert had already evaluated Parongan.
Lee said Parongan, through his counsel, requested and received a mental evaluation by Dr. Martin Blinder.
Blinder returned a report on May 19, 2018.
Based on the results of Blinder’s report, the government’s own expert made the evaluation, said Lee, without disclosing their expert’s evaluation.
Lee discussed briefly the evaluation issue in the government’s response to Parongan’s motion for a speedy trial.
Lee said defendant’s demand for speedy trial does not cite any legal authority.
Lee said defendant’s mental evaluation—and the amount of time it took to complete it—is the primary reason for the delay in his trial.
Parongan, 56, has been in jail since his arrest shortly after the killing incident that occurred in October 2017.
Through his counsel, Parongan has asserted last July a plea of not guilty for reason of insanity.
The woman suffered multiple stab wounds, while her husband sustained 12 injuries in different parts of the head and body.
The woman was reportedly trying to collect house rental from Parongan when the two got into argument in the evening of Oct. 29, 2017. He allegedly stabbed the woman and her husband with a kitchen knife. (Ferdie De La Torre)