Through FB messages, defendant threatens to kidnap, rape, kill woman, ‘smash’ face of husband
Brian Tebuteb Palacios, a man facing the first cyberstalking case in the CNMI for threatening, through Facebook messages, to rape and kill a woman and “smash” the face of her husband, entered a guilty plea yesterday in federal court.
Palacios, 27, pleaded guilty to the indictment charging him with cyberstalking, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a one-year supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Senior Judge Alex R. Munson accepted the defendant’s guilty plea and set the sentencing for May 13.
After the hearing, Munson remanded Palacios to the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service.
Munson said he will not release the defendant on bail at this time.
Munson said he agrees with U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy’s determination for the continued detention that there is clear and convincing evidence that no combination of conditions will assure the safety of the victim and other persons and the community if Palacios is released.
According to special assistant U.S. attorney Mohammad Khatib, Palacios used Facebook, an online social networking website, to harass and intimidate the woman.
Khatib said the defendant did not use his real identify, used fake names and personas, and invented at least four fictitious Facebook profiles to accomplish his harassment and intimidation.
Palacios then used the fictitious Facebook profiles he invented to send multiple threatening Facebook messages to the woman and her family.
The Facebook messages, Khatib said, included threats to stalk, abduct, rape, shoot, and kill the woman.
One of the messages, the prosecutor said, threatened to “smash” the face of the woman’s husband.
Palacios’ harassment and intimidation began in April 2015 and continued through September 2015.
“This pattern of conduct had the deleterious effect of placing victim-1 (woman) in reasonable fear of death and serious bodily injury,” Khatib said, adding that such conduct also caused her to suffer substantial emotional distress.
The prosecutor said Palacios intentionally threatened and harassed the woman in order to cause her to be afraid, hoping to cast his actual self in the role of her protector and thereby create a rift between her and her husband.
Khatib said Palacios also attempted to prevent and thwart a law enforcement investigation into his harassment and intimidation.
Khatib said using his actual Facebook profile, Palacios told the woman’s family not to report the threats and harassment to police.
The defendant also told the woman’s family to tell her not to report the harassment to police.
Attorney Steven Pixley is the court-appointed counsel for Palacios.