Ex-convict gets 32-month prison term for hitting an elderly man


An ex-convict who hit an elderly man with a PVC pipe and a metal drum cover in the face and head was sentenced yesterday to 32 months in prison.

Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman sentenced 28-year-old Matt Souneng to four years in prison, all suspended except for 32 months, for assault with a dangerous weapon.

Souneng was given credit for two months of time served. He will start serving his sentence on Monday.

After completing the prison term, Souneng will be placed on two years probation. He was ordered to pay $1,949.55 in restitution to the victim, Danny Kol, and submit to an evaluation by the Community Guidance Center for anger management counseling and alcohol and drug assessment and treatment.

Souneng is prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol during his probation.

Wiseman said drinking alcohol is not an excuse to commit crimes yet Souneng has a prior conviction of disturbing the peace arising from a similar incident.

The Office of the Attorney General had charged Souneng with assault with a dangerous weapon, aggravated assault and battery, two counts of assault and battery, and one count of resisting arrest.

Souneng pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon in July 2014 as part of a plea deal. The remaining charges were dropped.

In the attack that occurred on Nov. 24, 2013, on Saipan, Souneng hit Kol with a metal drum cover, causing a two-inch laceration on the victim’s head that required 10 to 12 stitches.

Assistant attorney general Heather Barcinas had recommended a sentence of four years in prison, to be served day for day. She said this would make Souneng truly understand the seriousness of his crime and deter him from committing future crimes.

Assistant public defender Eden Schwartz, counsel for Souneng, recommended a sentence of 18 months in prison with two months’ probation.

Schwartz said Soeneng is non-violent unless he is drinking. She said a long probationary term will give Souneng the support he needs to enforce the lesson he learns from having to serve 18 months in prison.

Schwartz said Soeneng drank to the point of blacking out and that he has very little memory of what happened.

In July 2013, the drunk Souneng reportedly threw a rock and stick at a customer of a laundry shop in Koblerville. The victim was limping due to a bruise on the left thigh when police officers arrived at the scene. Souneng pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace in that case and served 83 days in prison.

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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