Mathewson pleads not guilty

William Kapono Mathewson, the man charged with beating and stabbing 60-year-old Dr. Francois Claassens with a fishing spear in the neck on Rota, pleaded not guilty yesterday.

At his arraignment in Superior Court, the 36-year-old Mathewson, through assistant public defender Michael Sato, waived reading of the charges and waived advisement of his constitutional rights.

William Kapono Mathewson

William Kapono Mathewson

Mathewson pleaded not guilty to the information charging him with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault and battery, and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja ordered that all preliminary matters be heard on Saipan.

Status conference will be on June 23, 2015, at 9am.

Assistant attorney general Chester Hinds appeared for the government.

Mathewson, a farmer/fisherman, allegedly stabbed Dr. Claassens in the neck with a fishing gear and clubbed him on the head with a big pot and chain.

The brutal attack happened in the back of the doctor’s house in Teneto Village on Rota last April 4.

Claassens was last reported to have regained consciousness after he was hooked on life support for two weeks.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at

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