Avino faces murder trial

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014


JUDICIAL proceedings for the grisly Kayang massacre officially began with a pre-trial held Monday, June 16, after the suspect Phillip Avino pleaded "not guilty" in an arraignment earlier this month.

The pre-trial was arranged for clarification of admitted facts about the identity of the suspect, listing of witnesses and documents to be used as evidences in five counts of murder against Avino.

Complainants were family members and relatives of victims Jacqueline Nociete, 19; her brother, Joey, 7; his playmates Reymond Delmendo, 9 and Dave John de Guzman, 7; and the Nociete's housemaid Jonalyn Lozano, 31 who were all allegedly stabbed to death by Avino in the Nociete family's apartment at 3rd Kayang St. April 6.

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Around 19 people were so far listed as witnesses who will testify against Avino including his ex-girlfriend known as "Samantha" who identified him based on pieces of bloodied clothing left in the crime scene. Parents of the victims; inspection team members; Baguio City Police Officers; and people who have seen the suspect on the same day the incident occurred are also set to testify.

There were also around 52 documents and pieces of evidences listed.

Among these are the SOCO report dated April 7, autopsy report of all five victims, DNA reports, death certificates of the victims and testimonies of the inspection teams and witnesses.

According to Prosecutor Nenita Opiona, there is a possibility the number of witnesses and documents will increase depending on the findings as the proceedings go on.

She added both the side of the prosecution and defense will have a case conference 2 weeks before the first hearing on July to know the first team to present their witnesses and evidences.

The scheduled hearings are on July 22, 23, 29 and 30; August 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20; September 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24; and on November 4, 5, 11, 12, and 18 barring any postponements.

All scheduled hearings start at 2 p.m.

Avino was met by "boos" from the public on his way out of the court.

But the pre-trial went smoothly despite the emotional families of the victims.

Meanwhile, aside from those discussed inside the court, legal counsels Nenita Opiana (prosecution) and Debbie del Val (defense) refused to give any statements to media stressing the grieving victims' families especially the minors must be respected.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 18, 2014.

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