Man who robs tourist, beats up girlfriend, gets 1-year prison term


A man who beat up his girlfriend and robbed two tourists was slapped with a one-year prison term.

At a hearing last week, Manuel Jones Villagomez, 39, pleaded guilty to robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, and assault and battery in both cases.

Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio accepted the plea agreement and Villagomez’s guilty plea and sentenced him to two years and six months in prison, all suspended except for one year.

Villagomez was given credit for time served. After completing his sentence, he will be placed on supervised probation for five years.

Villagomez was required to pay a $1,000 fine, restitution to one victim, and perform 250 hours of community service.

Villagomez is prohibited from possessing or consuming any alcoholic beverages or controlled substances during his probation.

Villagomez has agreed to fully cooperate with the government and testify in the case against his co-defendant, Benwachi Nicky Taisakan.

In the robbery case, the Office of the Attorney General charged Villagomez with robbery, theft, conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to theft, and disturbing the peace.

In the domestic violence case, the OAG charged him with assault and battery, criminal mischief, and four counts of disturbing the peace.

For pleading guilty to the three charges, OAG dropped the remaining charges as part of the plea deal.

According to the factual basis of the plea agreement, on Dec. 3, 2013, on Saipan, Villagomez and Taisakan planned to rob someone. The two went to Garapan where Villagomez drove a car while Taisakan was on foot. Villagomez contacted Taisakan by phone and told him to grab the purse of a female Russian tourist from her shoulder. Villagomez then picked up Taisakan and they drove away.

In the domestic violence case, Villagomez was upset at his girlfriend and he punched and slapped her on Oct. 31, 2013.

According to a police report, in the robbery case detectives identified the suspects after Taisakan’s cell phone fell on the road when the victim’s boyfriend chased him.

Taisakan ran toward the 99 Cents Store. The boyfriend chased the suspect, who then hopped on the side step of an SUV that was moving slowly.

The male tourist tried to get the license plate, but the SUV made a right turn heading south. The male tourist, however, recovered a cellular phone that fell from Taisakan.

The female tourist stated that her purse contained $900 cash, two passports, an iPhone 5, credit cards, and hotel key.

A crime scene technician identified the picture on the phone’s wallpaper as Taisakan.

During an interview with detectives last Jan. 13, Taisakan admitted he was the one who grabbed the purse from the tourist and that the driver of the getaway SUV was Villagomez.

Taisakan claimed that prior to the robbery, Villagomez picked him up at his residence in Koblerville and they both smoked methamphetamine or “ice.”

While they were smoking, Villagomez allegedly stated he really needs money because he used the money that his girlfriend gave him.

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

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