Emie Romero's Murderer Should Be Charged

October 8, 2012

Eight months after the brutal murder of Filipino foreign worker Emie Romero her family and friends want to know why there has been no arrest.

Today the KSPN News and the Saipan Tribune reported that the investigation has finally been completed and the case has been forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General's Criminal Division. DPS detectives state that they are waiting for the OAG to take action.

The Saipan Tribune reported that Chief Prosecutor Peter Presley stated last week that the acting Attorney General, Viola Alepeyo will hold a press conference concerning the case. She appears to be in no rush.

It was not CNMI law enforcement agencies, but the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC and the Philippine Consulate in Saipan who appealed to the FBI lab in Virginia to speed up the processing of the DNA evidence.

I have been told that the monster who murdered Emerita Romero on February 5, 2012 is  a violent 38-year-old career criminal who should have been behind bars at the time he murdered Emie. He was released from jail in December 2011, but was arrested again in January 2012 for violating his probation and possession of crystal methamphetamine.  I was also informed that the alleged suspect is a relative of a CNMI senator.

Emie, a bartender at Godfather's Bar, was a loving mother, daughter, sister and friend before her life was taken by the brutal killer.

Former Department of Public Safety Commissioner Raymon Mafnas was accused of interfering with the case. Mafnas spoke to a key witness, but refused to turn in a witness report, saying he would not turn in a "God damn statement." Mafnas was put on administrative leave on March 26, 2012 after over 138 DPS employees signed a petition requesting his removal. He is now the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections.

Did the CNMI's flawed legal system, and web of political and family allies play a role in Emie's death? How many cases have gone unsolved or not prosecuted because the system supports letting those with family or political connections walk? How many lenient sentences, suspended sentences and awards of early parole allowed dangerous career criminals to be on the streets instead of behind bars where they belong?

Now we wait to see how long it will take the Office of the Attorney General to arrest the suspect.


Anonymous said...

CNMI should really take any brutal murder and acts of violence seriously. They show pride in being a small island and that everyone is so close knit and have values unlike the main land, but when it comes to a horiffic event, the people need to come together and support justice all politics aside. In order to protect our islands and people but most especially children for the future.

Anonymous said...

I think they should just give up the island to the U.S. it is obvious that the government of the c.n.m.i are useless. Can't you see the island is falling apart because of CORRUPTED- SELFISH officials..

Anonymous said...

You think we should move those military exercises from the northern islands to Saipan's Capitol Hill? I don't know how else to get this government to do what it supposed to do?

Green Cards for All! said...

The prosecution only gets one chance to get it right. If the perpetrator is acquitted, there is no second chance.

It is customary for amateur victim rights activists to howl and complain about our criminal justice system being too slow, but that is nothing in comparison to what we would hear if the case falls apart in the courtroom.

Particularly given the lack of resources to train DPS officials and retain OAG lawyers, an even higher level of preparation and evidentiary certainty is required to reasonably assure a guilty verdict.

It is so easy to attack and belittle those who are persevering despite daunting odds, but those comments are not always helpful.

(I am not accusing you of this, Wendy.) Yes, keep the memory alive to ensure law enforcement officials know we haven't forgotten, and still demand justice, but keep the big picture in mind in our tone and personal characterizations.

Wendy Doromal said...

GCFA 7:40 Of course a thorough investigation should be completed. However, it is ridiculous that days ago the OAG stated that the acting AG will hold a press conference and then days later there is no such press conference.

The corruption in the local law enforcement agencies cannot be disputed. It must stop or there will be no chance for justice for any victims of crime in the CNMI. No one is safe in the CNMI right now.

The accusation that Mafnas also interfered in the case when he was commissioner makes the delays and status of this case all the more unacceptable.

How many federal tax dollars have been spent to train DPS officials over the years? What kind of legitimate police department hires officers with criminal records?! Please no more excuses. The public deserves to have a DPS that is swept clean of politically connected criminal officers. Those involved in the Buckingham episode need to be fired immediately. May the DPS thugs and their commander/s be prosecuted.

I hope there is an arrest coming in this case within weeks. Emie, her family members and friends deserve justice. Eight months to solve this case with DNA evidence is enough time.

Wendy Doromal said...

Green Cards For All

On another issue...have you run into Edward Buckingham? I heard he is also in San Francisco. Can any law enforcement officer arrest him? How does that work? Thanks!

Green Cards for All! said...

I personally have successfully prosecuted a murder case on Saipan, relying on DNA evidence analyzed by the FBI, that was much staler than this one and where the DPS officer who did the case investigation had been a childhood friend of the defendant and actively tried to sabotage the case -- he was later sent to federal prison for stealing “ice” from the evidence vault and selling it, before my murder case went to trial.

No, sorry, I haven't seen Ed (though I was tempted to greet him and Pam at the airport!). I figured they'd suffered enough and needed some privacy. His wife's family lives in Santa Clara County west of San Jose and I am in eastern Alameda County, about 40 miles away.

To answer your question, arrest warrants are generally entered into NCIC, but there is a difference in how they are treated depending on whether they are for felonies or misdemeanors.

For state or territorial misdemeanor offenses, an extradition warrant is seldom issued, though I suppose one theoretically could be -- I haven't researched the question -- especially if it would trigger a felony probation revocation, for instance. So when a law enforcement officer (LEO) becomes aware of an individual who might be “wanted” elsewhere, or whose background is relevant due to a current interaction such as a traffic stop, the LEO would run an NCIC check.

If there is a state or territorial misdemeanor arrest warrant but no extradition warrant already issued (meaning that the jurisdiction will pay to bring the person back), the LEO will usually ignore it, or maybe log the contact into NCIC. That is where you have people who will say things like, “I can't go back to Texas.”

For a felony warrant, the person will usually be detained, so the LEO can check with the state to see if they will begin the process of obtaining an extradition warrant. That is what happened to the Japanese man wanted for the murder of his wife in California arrested on Saipan, Mr. Miura. Governor Schwarzenegger signed a warrant and California paid his way there from the CNMI.

If the person is a (felony) fugitive encountered by federal law enforcement agents, often the feds will help out with a UFAP (unlawful flight to avoid prosecution) warrant, which is then dismissed once in the receiving state in favor of the local prosecution.

In this case, absent the CNMI issuing an extradition warrant and having it entered into NCIC, it is quite unlikely Edward Taylor Buckingham III will be arrested for the misdemeanor allegations against him. It usually simply isn’t worth the money to the forum jurisdiction (the CNMI).

Wendy Doromal said...

Thank you Green Cards for all of the information!