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Sylvestre Sablan admits killing wife

SYLVESTRE Rogopes Sablan, 45, will serve 30 years in jail, five of which are to be suspended, for killing his wife, Ana Maria Pialur Limes, in April 2015.

At a change-of-plea hearing on Wednesday, Sablan pled guilty to 2nd degree murder.

Before accepting his plea, Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio read him his constitutional rights.

Sylvestre Rogopes Sablan is escorted by a Corrections officer in the hallway of the judicial building, Wednesday. Photo by Bryan Manabat

Sablan took time before answering the judge who asked him if he understood the proceedings and whether his mind was clear.

Asked if someone promised him anything or threatened or forced him to plead guilty, Sablan mumbled, “My conscience.”

Asked to explain what happened prior to his wife’s slaying, he said he went to sleep with his wife, “and when I woke up the next day….”

On April 20, 2015, at 12:50 p.m., police discovered Limes’s body at the couple’s house in San Jose. The autopsy indicated that she had been dead for about two days before she was found, and that she died of a skull fracture due to blunt trauma.

According to the factual basis of the plea agreement, on or between April 18, 2015, Sablan did unlawfully and with malice aforethought kill a human being, a household member.

Sablan was charged with two cases stemming from the events on the evening of April 18, 2015 and on the early morning of April 19, 2015.

He was charged with one count of illegal possession of a controlled substance and three counts of disturbing the peace in the first case; and 2nd degree murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and aggravated assault and battery in the second case.

Following his guilty plea, the Office of the Attorney General moved to dismiss the other charges against him.

The plea agreement also stated that upon completion of a pre-sentence investigation report, the court will determine the length of time and conditions of probation to be imposed upon Sablan.

The court will also determine whether Sablan is eligible for parole, work release or furlough.

On April 19, 2015, Sablan was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. He was released but arrested again in Sept. 2016 after the results of a DNA analysis came back from the Federal Bureau of Investigation laboratory in Virginia.

The specimen examined by the FBI included the clothes Sablan wore on the day of his arrest, pieces of wood found at the scene of his wife’s murder, a broken paddle and a sledgehammer found near the victim’s body. Analysis showed with “a reasonable degree of scientific certainty” that the victim’s DNA was on the items examined.

At the change-of-plea hearing on Wednesday, Chief Prosecutor Michelle Harris appeared for the government while Chief Public Defender Douglas Hartig represented Sablan.

In a statement on Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Teri Tenorio, who negotiated the plea terms, said:

“This guilty plea gives some sense of closure to the family of Ana Limes. The Office of the Attorney General has maintained regular communications with the family, and prior to finalizing plea terms, we sought input and approval of this offer. While the family may never understand how Sylvestre Sablan could murder Ana, this plea agreement provides some semblance of closure.

“Ana’s family also expressed the importance of community awareness and speaking out against domestic violence.

“Speak up, speak out, and speak loud if you suspect a family member or friend is the victim of domestic violence.

“This is much more than a private family matter; this is a community problem that transcends generations, and it’s time to put an end to the violence.”

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/101243-sylvestre-sablan-admits-killing-wife

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