Parole denied for wife-killer


In this file photo, Sylvestre Rogopes Sablan is escorted by Correction officers after a hearing in connection with the murder of his wife, Ana Maria Pialur Limes, in April 2015. Sablan was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, with no possibility of parole. (Ferdie de la Torre)

A Superior Court judge denied yesterday any possibility of parole for the man who has already been slapped with a 25-year prison term for killing his wife at their home in Oleai.

After completing his prison term, the 46-year-old Sylvestre Rogopes Sablan will be placed on 10 years of probation. He has already been sentenced last January to the maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment, with five years suspended.

The hearing yesterday was whether to grant Sablan the possibility of parole and to outline the terms of his probation.

Associate Judge Teresa K. Kim-Tenorio said she understands that the methamphetamine or “ice” in this case led to a brutal murder.

Kim-Tenorio said the victim, Ana Maria Pialur Limes, was remembered by family members, friends, and in the community with her dance, music, and flower. Limes was a cultural dancer.

“You took away the education of culture in this community,” the judge told Sablan.

Kim-Tenorio said what Sablan did to Limes was beyond brutal.

“You broke her emotionally and literally,” she said.

Kim-Tenorio said when the community learned about Limes’ murder, it sent a shockwave.

Sablan told the court that Limes was his life.

“She’s the love of my life. She was the one,” Sablan said, adding that he is not pointing any fingers in this case.

When the prosecution played a video of Limes singing when she was still alive, Sablan sang along.

Assistant attorney general Teri Tenorio, counsel for the government, opposed allowing Sablan to become eligible for parole.

Tenorio said this was not a case of methamphetamine but of domestic violence, that Sablan was a controlling man who subjected Limes to physical, verbal, and emotional abuse.

In an interview later, Tenorio said this was not a case where the defendant has any redeeming quality that would entitle him to be released early.

“This case underscores the most serious case of domestic violence,” she said.

The prosecutor said the reason why the Commonwealth speaks out and prosecutes cases involving domestic violence is because, left uncheck without family members speaking out, without witnesses speaking out, without help available to victims, this is the ultimate and most unfortunate end to what can happen to a victim of domestic violence.

“Unfortunately, as the judge said today this does not…bring the victim back. There is no win for the victim but, hopefully, it does provide conclusion,” Tenorio said.

Chief Public Defender Douglas Hartig, counsel for Sablan, said this case is without a doubt, the worst proof of the “ice” epidemic on Saipan, that this was a direct consequence of Sablan’s “ice” addiction.

“This is an out-of-control violence. Nothing but ‘ice’ driven,” said Hartig as he noted that before the meth abuse, Sablan was a nice person—ind and helpful.

Hartig said what they are asking is an opportunity for Sablan to prove that he is worthy of probation.

Some family members and relatives of both Limes and Sablan spoke in court.

Sablan signed a plea deal with the government and pleaded guilty last January to the charge of murder in the second degree. The prosecution agreed to dismiss the remaining charges.

The court earlier consolidated the murder case and the possession of methamphetamine or “ice” against Sablan.

The Office of the Attorney General had charged Sablan with one count of illegal possession of a controlled substance and three counts of disturbing the peace.

In the second case, the OAG charged him with second degree murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and aggravated assault and battery.

The OAG then filed a motion to consolidate the two cases. The judge granted the request.

The murder occurred on or between April 18 and April 19, 2015, while the “ice” case occurred on April 19, 2015.

The government alleged that after killing Limes, Sablan walked around Oleai/San Jose Village and created a disturbance.

Due to that disturbance, police officers responded to complaints and saw Sablan holding a small bag containing “ice” and arrested him.

Limes, 52, a former staff assistant of Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), was found dead inside her house in Oleai/San Jose on April 20, 2015, at noon. Autopsy showed that she died of a skull fracture due to blunt force trauma.

A Federal Bureau of Investigation report from the FBI laboratory exam showed that a chemical test for the presence of blood on a pair of short pants taken from Sablan turned up positive.

Police said the results concluded “to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty” that Limes was a contributor of the DNA obtained from the short pants.

The FBI report also confirmed that DNA was present on a sledgehammer and pieces of a wooden paddle. Examination done on the sledgehammer and pieces of wooden paddle confirmed “to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty” that Limes was the source of DNA obtained from both items.

Police said that physical evidence procured from the crime scene such as the sledgehammer, pieces of a wooden paddle, stick from a wooden paddle, along with the clothing procured from Sablan, were sent to the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia for examination.

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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