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Court denies kidnapping defendant’s bail modification request

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SUPERIOR Court Associate Judge Wesley Bogdan on Tuesday denied the request of Daniel Muna Quitugua to be released to his girlfriend as third-party custodian.

Daniel Muna Quitugua

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 was not charged.

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

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

The bail modification hearing was held in the reopened CNMI Supreme Court courtroom.

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

The victim told police that he was resting in his room when an unknown local male made his way into the room and demanded to see his passport. Believing that the individual was an undercover police the victim gave the man his passport.

The man, who was later identified as Quitugua, looked at the victim’s passport and stated that it was expired, and the victim needed to make a payment of $700 to him, Quitugua,

Otherwise, Quitugua said he would bring the victim to the police station.

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