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Song pleads not guilty to manslaughter

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The death of 27-year-old Yunmo Ku came as a shock to many in the community.  A night out with his girlfriend turned into something tragic when he encountered another man outside a karaoke club. Ku's life was cut short by a punch to his head and his family is now seeking justice hoping the legal system will help provide some closure to the tragedy they've suffered. 

Ku's family filled the courtroom today, anxiously waiting to hear how 40-year-old Jimmy Chin Song would answer to manslaughter charges. Ku, the general manager of 7-Day Supermarket, was taken off life support after sustaining a single blow to his head that caused him to go into a coma. He was later pronounced brain dead and doctors didn't provide any hope that his condition would change.

Ku was assaulted outside the Sing-A-Song Cafe in Harmon last month. His girlfriend told police that Song had opened the door to their private karaoke room twice and later got into a verbal argument with Ku outside. She said Song struck her boyfriend knocking him unconscious to the ground.  Song was initially arrested for assault and released on $50,000 bail but was indicted by a Superior Court grand jury last Friday afternoon, charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault. He was rearrested by police and is being held on $250,000 cash bail.

During his arraignment hearing this afternoon, Song wearing an orange DOC jumpsuit stood with his head down next to his attorney, Jeffrey Moots. "Your honor, at this time we're going to enter a plea of not guilty, waive reading of the indictment file a waiver of speedy trial, request for a jury trial of twelve," the lawyer announced. "We've requested all discovery, including the grand jury transcripts."

Magistrate Judge Alberto Tolentino granted the defense's request for discovery - all documents related to the case including the grand jury transcripts. Attorney Moots meanwhile asked the court to reinstate the original bond that was set at $50,000, which his client posted before he was arrested a second time. He said, "The court found at that time that the $50,000 bond set on the magistrate was sufficient to protect the community and to prevent Mr. Song from fleeing. At the subsequent filing of the indictment the government filed no additional papers to indicate that anything had changed in terms of Mr. Song's risk to the community, nor his risk of flight."

Moots argued the government simply pandered to the press by requesting a $250,000 bail amount and went around procedures to seek a larger bail amount, alleging they circumvented the law. "We're simply asking the government be held to the same standard that they're trying to impose on every other citizen in this community," he asserted.

While the prosecution objected, Judge Tolentino said the matter of bail should be brought before Judge Vern Perez, who has been assigned the case.  Until that happens song remains behind bars awaiting a criminal trial setting, which is scheduled for August 9.

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