The Office of the Attorney General’s criminal division is strongly opposing early release for two inmates: one who’s convicted of murder in the first degree and the other convicted of sexual assault in the second degree.
Chief Prosecutor Chester Hinds issued two separate memorandums last Thursday to the CNMI Board of Parole opposing the parole applications of Edward Iglecias Blas and Edward Tudela Sublan, two men who are currently serving separate sentences for murder and sexual assault, respectively.
The two men are right now waiting for the Board of Parole’s decision on their respective applications.
According to the memorandum in opposition of early release for Blas, Hinds said the OAG maintains its position strongly opposing a grant of parole to inmate Blas despite his eligibility for parole after serving one-third of his sentence. Blas was sentenced to a 24-year imprisonment and has served over eight years.
“The Commonwealth expresses continued concern over granting the inmate’s eligibility for parole given the nature of the offense that the inmate has been charged with, and for the pattern of behavior exhibited by the inmate, which could possibly result in more future criminal acts. We respectfully request that his application be denied,” he said.
Hinds pointed out that Blas, before pleading guilty to murder in the first degree, which he committed during a burglary and/or robbery, already had an extremely long criminal history as a juvenile.
“Nothing seemed to work. We believe that the inmate is not suitable for parole. These types of crimes, along with the inmate’s criminal history, should be a strong aggravating factor during the parole decision. Therefore, the Commonwealth expresses its continued concern in granting inmate Blas any form of early release,” he said.
In the murder case, Blas took a piece of metal rebar and repeatedly hit the head of a school security guard, just so he could steal property at the school and go buy marijuana.
“There is simply nothing mitigating about this heinous crime for brutally beating a sleeping man to death. Applicant made a deliberate decision to commit such a cruel attack on a defenseless person just for a few dollars to buy drugs,” he said.
Aside from committing the cruel attack, the chief prosecutor noted that Blas also minimized his role in this crime in his application for parole.
The inmate, in his version of the story, stated that both his co-defendants went to pay him a visit to smoke marijuana. However, as they were running out of marijuana, the group thought of a way to make money to buy more marijuana, which in turn, led them to plan to knock out the security guard and rob the school.
“They didn’t just knock out the security guard as planned; they brutally beat the defenseless sleeping guard, resulting in his death. According to the confessions of the inmate’s co-defendants, after they stopped hitting the deceased victim, [Blas] continued to hit the deceased victim about ten more times so his co-defendants began telling him to stop, and [Blas’] response was that he ‘wanted to make sure that the deceased victim was knocked out,’” said Hinds.
Meanwhile, in the memorandum against parole for Sablan, Hinds said the OAG opposes a finding of suitability and grant of parole to Sablan because his sentence was already lenient to begin with, considering that his crime was sexual assault in the second degree, which carried a maximum sentence of 15 years.
“The defendant [pleaded] guilty to the offense of sexual assault in the second degree, and was sentenced to serve five years, all suspended except for two years and shall be released on Feb. 26, 2023. We believe the inmate is not suitable for parole. The crime committed itself carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. The defendant was already given a lenient sentence; therefore, we must highly consider the protection of the people, most especially his victim and her rights. With only nine months remaining for incarceration, we must all be reminded of the unbearable long-term effects that this traumatic ordeal has placed on his victim. The victim will carry this experience over her lifetime for the rest of her life,” he said.
Hinds said Sablan serving his full maximum possible sentence as penalty for such an invasive crime is in the best interest of the victim and her family, the community, and for the Commonwealth.
“Granting the inmate early release does not apply equal justice. This raises a concern, given the nature of the type of crime that the inmate has committed. The Commonwealth vigorously requests for the board’s favorable disposition in denying the inmate’s application for parole at this time, and further requests that the board consider the Commonwealth’s request for the inmate to serve the entire maximum remaining sentence. As a reminder, the law was passed by the people to send a strong message to offenders. Offenders of sexual assault are therefore sentenced to go to jail for a very long period of time. Serving his sentence shorter than the two years he was sentenced to will definitely not represent a very long period of time, nor does it serve the ends of justice,” the chief prosecutor said.