Ex-convict who burglarized Garapan apartment gets 15-month sentence


Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman imposed yesterday a 15-month prison sentence against an ex-convict who burglarized an apartment in Garapan and stole some items to support his poker addiction.

Wiseman sentenced Kchek Bunusek to three years in prison, all suspended except for 15 months, for burglary. Bunusek, 44, was given credit for time served.

The judge said he has considered the arguments of the parties, including the government’s position that the system has been too lenient with Bunusek in the past and that the defendant should serve a sentence that will deter recidivism and similar conduct by others.

“This is a case where the best interests of justice and of this society will be best served by imposing a jail term that the court believes will have a deterrent effect on the life of the defendant upon his release, and more important, on those potential offenders,” Wiseman said.

Bunusek will be placed on probation once he completes his sentence. He was required to perform 500 hours of community service and pay a $100 court costs plus probation fee in an amount to be determined by the Office of Adult Probation.

Bunusek was ordered to undergo evaluation at the Community Guidance Center and comply with any recommended treatment.

Assistant attorney general Heather Barcinas had recommended a three-year prison term, citing Bunusek’s criminal history. She said that Bunusek has not been properly rehabilitated as his crimes have escalated from misdemeanor to felony.

Bunusek’s lawyer, assistant public defender Eden Schwartz, recommended a sentence of one year in prison and two years’ probation. She said Bunusek has learned his lessons and that he is not a hardened criminal.

Schwartz said that Bunusek has suffered a series of losses and has a history of alcoholism and substance abuse. She said the defendant’s father died in 1978 from alcohol-related illnesses. She noted that the defendant turned to alcohol after the death of his three sons.

The defense lawyer said Bunusek’s poverty, lack of education, and history of alcohol and drug addiction make him a strong candidate for probation where he can get help and resources, not jail. She added that the defendant has a 14-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter to raise.

In his brief statement before the judge handed down the sentence, Bunusek apologized to the victim for what he did. He promised the court not to commit any crime again.

“I will not do it again,” he said.

In sentencing the defendant, Wiseman said the victim could have been seriously injured had she been home during the burglary. Fortunately, Wiseman said, the victim was not there.

Wiseman said Bunusek is no stranger to the criminal justice system as he was charged with riot in July 1999. That case was ultimately dismissed after the defendant completed a diversion program.

In December 2009, Bunusek was convicted of disturbing the peace and obstructing justice, but he was only sentenced to seven days.

Wiseman acknowledged Bunusek’s position that the burglary was not premeditated or a violent act and was instead a crime of opportunity. Bunusek saw an open window and got the idea to steal, Wiseman said.

Wiseman said Bunusek was extremely cooperative with the police, gave a full statement, and gave information sufficient to locate and retrieve the stolen items.

On the day police questioned him, the judge added, Bunusek wrote an apology to the victim.

Police arrested Bunusek for burglary and theft a day after he burglarized an apartment unit in Garapan on March 9, 2014. He signed a plea deal with the government and pleaded guilty to burglary.

Bunusek was identified by police officer Jason Tarkong after the suspect rearranged the position of a surveillance camera, not knowing of the existence of a second hidden camera at the apartment unit that he had burglarized.

Bunusek later confessed that he sold the laptop for $75 to a store cashier and the cell phone for $100 to a couple.

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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