12 Jan 2017
- By Bryan Manabat - email@example.com - Variety News Staff
SUPERIOR Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio on Wednesday granted the commonwealth’s motion to consolidate the criminal cases against a man charged with murdering his wife, Ana Maria Pialur Limes.
The order involves two cases against defendant Sylvestre Rogopes Sablan stemming from the events on the evening of April 18, 2015 and on the early morning of April 19, 2015.
Sablan 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.
A hearing was held on Dec. 7, 2016 on the commonwealth’s motion to consolidate the case with Assistant Attorney General Chester Hinds appearing for the government and Chief Public Defender Douglas Hartig representing Sablan.
The government filed a motion to consolidate the criminal cases against Sablan, saying that the cases are logically related and have overlapping evidence on Sept, 26, 2016.
According to court documents, the overlapping evidence includes blood evidence, potential witness testimony and Sablan’s own statements.
On Sept. 29, 2016, Sablan’s counsel filed an opposition to the motion to consolidate, contesting the existence of a causal link between the two criminal charges.
Hartig argued that consolidation would cause prejudice and potentially confuse the jury.
But, in its ruling, the court said the Commonwealth Rules of Criminal Procedure allow consolidation of the offenses charged if they are of the same or similar character; are based on the same act or transaction; or are connected together through a common scheme or plan.
The court said “the temporal proximity of the acts and the likelihood and extent of evidentiary overlap are the most relevant factors showing the same or similar character of the cases in this matter.”
In addition, the court was not persuaded that Sablan will suffer actual prejudice for the following reasons:
(1) He does not set forth any arguments as to the inadmissibility of evidence in either of the cases;
(2) The court does not share the defendant’s lack of faith in the jury, the Office of the Attorney General, or the judicial administration; and,
(3) Judicial economy weighs in favor of consolidating the cases.
The court set a status conference for Feb. 14, 2017 at 9 a.m. in Courtroom 217A.