Ex-con poker robber gets one year in prison for violating probation terms

For no apparent reason, defendant punched 2 men in separate incidents

A man previously convicted of robbing a poker arcade was slapped yesterday with a one-year prison term without the possibility of parole for violating the terms and conditions of his probation when he punched two men in the face for no reason in separate incidents in 2014.

Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo sentenced 36-year-old Jesse Joseph Q. Saralu to one year in prison, topped with another year of supervised probation once he finishes serving his sentence.

The judge revoked Saralu’s probation in March after he admitted to violating the terms and conditions of his probation in two prior criminal convictions.

At yesterday’s sentencing, assistant attorney general Heather Barcinas recommended one year in prison without the possibility of parole, saying this is intended to punish Saralu so he may truly understand the seriousness of his crime and deter him from committing future crimes by taking away his liberty for a longer period of time.

In this case, Barcinas said that on Sept. 13, 2014, at 1am, Saralu walked into Blusky Poker in San Antonio and, for no apparent reason, punched Kurt King in the face.

Saralu fled the scene with his vehicle, but a police officer pulled him over. While the officer was talking to him, Saralu fled and eluded officers to his mother’s residence in Koblerville.

Barcinas said that on Dec. 7, 2014, at 12am, Saralu walked inside Star Poker near Quartermaster and again, for no apparent reason, punched Joshua Muña in the left eye.

Barcinas said Saralu randomly punches individuals for no apparent reason.

“He is a danger to the community and deserves nothing but punitive punishment for his violent offenses and his repeated path of violating the court’s orders,” she said.

Since 2001, Saralu has been in and out of jail for violent offenses and appears to be a poor probationer, she added.

Among Saralu’s convictions was in September 2008, when he was sentenced to six years in prison for robbing Capitol Hill Poker in Sadog Tasi in broad daylight. He was paroled in May 2012, after serving just four years of his six-year prison term.

Barcinas said that only a year later Saralu’s parole was suspended because he violated his parole conditions.

Six months after being released in March 2014, Saralu was again arrested for another violent offense. Then three months after that, he was arrested again for another violent offense.

Barcinas said Saralu’s continued path of criminal activity shows a complete disregard for the laws of the CNMI and a disregard for the safety and prosperity of the community.

Assistant public defender Michael Sato, counsel for Saralu, recommended no prison term at this time, but asked the court to retain the option to revoke the sentence at a later date.

Sato said this would give Saralu the opportunity to demonstrate his ability to maintain his sobriety, regain employment, complete his probation, and reintegrate into the community.

The defense lawyer said Saralu admits that he has a problem with alcohol that contributes to his “lapses in judgment.”

Sato said in the long term, Saralu wishes to explore the possibility of relocating to Parkland, Washington, transferring his supervision, and reuniting with his two young children and their mother.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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