Court denies robbery case defendant's release

Daniel Muna Quitugua

SAIPAN – Superior Court Associate Judge Wesley Bogdan on Tuesday denied the request of Daniel Muna Quitugua to be released from jail and into the custody of his girlfriend.

Citing the girlfriend’s previous criminal conviction, the judge found her not suitable as a third-party custodian as he also denied Quitugua’s motion for bail modification.

“The court is cognizant of the defendant’s right to bail, but it also recognizes the community’s safety,” the judge said, adding that the proposed third-party custodian is incapable of supervising Quitugua.

Assistant Attorney General Heather Barcinas, who opposed the motion for bail modification, noted that the girlfriend was arrested with the defendant in the same case.

The girlfriend told the court that she was arrested because she was suspected of hiding and helping the defendant. She said she was released after 24 hours of being detained and wasn’t charged.

Quitugua is represented by Chief Public Defender Douglas Hartig who asked the court to allow the defendant to pay 10% of the $50,000 cash bail.

In denying the motion for bail modification, Judge Bogdan maintained the previously imposed $50,000 bail on Quitugua.

Quitugua, who is considered by the police as a career offender, was arrested last year in a case involving robbery, kidnapping, impersonating an officer and disturbing the peace.

The alleged victim in the current case told police that he was resting in his room when Quitugua entered and demanded to see his passport. Believing Quitugua was an undercover police officer, the man gave him his passport.

Quitugua looked at it, said it was expired, and demanded a $700 payment. He said if the man didn’t pay him, he’d take him to the police station.