Saying public safety should be the primary concern facing members of the Board of Parole, the Office of the Attorney General is strongly opposing granting parole to five inmates, including one who tried to kill his girlfriend by setting her on fire and another described as a high-level drug dealer.
“While many inmates learn from their mistakes and are rehabilitated, there are some inmates with long criminal histories or serious offenses who should not yet be released into the community,” Chief Prosecutor John Bradley told Saipan Tribune yesterday.
The five inmates with parole requests are John Piteg Teregeyo, 26; Ronnie San Nicolas, 25; John C. Hamilton, 33; Vincent SN. Norita, 34; and Demson Sachuo, 19.
The Board of Parole will hear the five’s parole applications at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe beginning at 10am today, Wednesday, and tomorrow, Thursday.
Bradley said the Board of Parole’s decisions are particularly important considering the recent problems that have arisen from criminals who have been released and resumed criminal conduct. He cited the case of Gordon Castro, who staged a 38-hour hostage drama in San Antonio before police officers fatally shot him on March 12, 2020. Bradley said that Castro had a substantial criminal history, had been imprisoned and was out on probation, and was on bail for two new drug trafficking offenses. Castro also ended up committing kidnapping, murder, and assault of police officers with a dangerous weapon, he said.
Bradley also cited the case of Shawn Appleby, who was on parole for murder and now faces a revocation hearing this week before the board for the alleged new crimes and violating the conditions of his parole.
Among the new parole applicants, Teregeyo had been convicted of arson and assault and battery. Bradley said the crimes also involved domestic violence, as Teregeyo had attacked his girlfriend. Teregeyo was sentenced to 11 years in prison, with six years suspended. He has already served two and a half years of his sentence.
Bradley said Teregeyo became angry at his girlfriend and tried to kill her by setting her on fire and preventing her from running away. “This was a very serious crime that could have resulted in the death of the victim by burning,” he said.
The Board of Parole, Bradley said, should focus on protecting the victim of this crime from any further fear by having Teregeyo serve the rest of his prison sentence. “A mere two and a half years for trying to kill someone is not enough punishment,” he said.
Also, while serving his sentence, Teregeyo had two violations in 2019. Bradley said Teregeyo fought with someone at the Department of Corrections and smuggled a cell phone into prison. He said both are serious violations and the inmate served additional time in isolation for these violations.
In San Nicolas’ case, he was convicted of two drug trafficking charges. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison, four years suspended. He has served only a little over two and a half years.
San Nicolas twice sold methamphetamine or “ice” in 2018. After his arrest in his first trafficking case, he was enrolled in the Drug Court program, which allowed him to avoid going to prison. While under the program, San Nicolas was again arrested for drug trafficking; this time he was caught with 208 grams of meth. “San Nicolas is not a typical meth addict. He is a high-level drug trafficker. He is a serious criminal,” Bradley said.
Bradley pointed out that this drug dealer was given an opportunity after his first arrest to deal with his addiction and stop dealing drugs. San Nicolas wasted that opportunity and became an even bigger drug dealer, he added.
Having only served two and a half years is not enough to stop San Nicolas’ misconduct, Bradley said, and that the BOP should show the community that drug dealing will not be tolerated.
With respect to Norita, he was convicted of multiple counts of theft, reckless driving, speeding, improper signal, illegal U-turn, failure to obey traffic sign, driving on the right side of a highway, eluding a police officer, accident, and tampering with a vehicle. He was sentenced to nine years in prison. So far, Norita has served only about three and one-half years of his nine-year sentence.
Bradley said that Norita should remain in prison, given the seriousness of this crime and his long criminal history.
As a juvenile, Bradley said, Norita began committing crimes and was frequently detained or investigated for curfew violations, drug possession, and minor in possession of alcohol. As an adult, Norita was convicted of robbery and burglary and served time before his current offenses.
In 2005, Norita was convicted of robbery and was sentenced to confinement. In 2012, he was charged with theft and burglary of an apartment. For those crimes, he served confinement, received parole, served probation, and violated numerous conditions of his parole and probation.
In short, Bradley said, Norita showed that he is a hardened criminal who is not being rehabilitated by confinement, parole, or probation.
The parole officer recommends early release. But in opposing early release, Bradley said Norita has stolen, robbed, and endangered the safety of numerous members of the community. He said Norita has served a small percentage of his most recent sentence. “Early release will undoubtedly result in new crimes and endanger innocent people,” he said.
In Hamilton’s case, he was convicted of burglary and sentenced to 10 years confinement, only two years suspended. He has served six and a half years.
He broke into the home of a family that included a 3-year-old child. The family was at home at the time. When confronted, Hamilton threatened the person with a screwdriver and injured them. In addition, Hamilton has a prior arrest for driving under the influence that was resolved by a guilty plea for reckless driving. He also admits to being a meth user.
Bradley noted that Hamilton has had two incidents of assault/fighting while serving his sentence, one as recently as 2019.
Bradley said the victims in this case should receive great consideration as Hamilton violated their privacy, threatened them with violence and likely created great apprehension in the family for everyone’s safety in the home.
The parole officer opposes Hamilton’s early release.
Bradley said Hamilton should serve the remainder of his eight years of confinement, which is only another year and a half.
In Sachou’s case, he was convicted of burglary and sentenced to 10 years. Only two years of that confinement was unsuspended. He has only served one year so far.
After Super Typhoon Yutu, Sachuo and three friends broke the window of a home. He entered the window and opened the door for his friends. They stole various items. The owner of the home is a single mother. Bradley said both the victim of this burglary and the parole officer oppose early release from the relatively short sentence.
Bradley noted that Sachuo was receiving public assistance by living at the Kagman Elementary School at the time of his crime. Rather than appreciate the difficulties everyone was facing after the typhoon, Sachuo chose to join his friends in stealing from another person after violating the privacy of a home, Bradley said.
Bradley said the parole officer’s report indicating that Sachuo has no criminal history is not accurate. He said Sachuo assaulted two individuals by punching and kneeing them in 2017. Bradley said the case was not prosecuted because the Department of Public Safety failed to provide the OAG with sufficient paperwork when requested.
He said the BOP should deny release on parole, have Sachuo complete his relatively short sentence and learn that the offense of burglary is serious violation of the dignity and privacy of the home.