Accused murderer maintains fight was in self-defense - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Accused murderer maintains fight was in self-defense

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 by Krystal Paco

Guam - It's been over a year since Carl Gargarita allegedly choked Anthony Giralao to death in a bar fight over a woman.

Today, before a jury, Gargarita recounted the incident for himself.

"If there's anything else I could've probably done to prevent it, I would've taken that measure to do it. It's not something that I wanted to do or planned to do. At the time it was just - I was just trying to protect myself," he maintained.

This was Carl Gargarita's plea to the jury as he testified for himself in day three of the murder trial. Defense contends Gargarita's actions in the early morning hours of June 15, 2013 were a matter of self-defense, not murder, manslaughter, or even negligent homicide.

While on the stand, Gargarita used his arms to demonstrate the lock he performed to hold Anthony Giralao to the ground before he says Giralao blacked out. Because Anthony's back was faced toward him, Gargarita looked to Anthony's fists for a cue that Anthony would stop fighting back. When Anthony released his tight fists, Gargarita says he knew it was safe to let go of the chokehold.

As we've been reporting, Anthony Giralao is the ex-husband to Irene Giralao, the woman Gargarita had been seeing on and off between Irene's attempts to mend her marriage. Earlier that night, Gargarita met Irene for drinks at the night club Denials in Tumon, before they smoked weed and had sex in Irene's car. When Irene's phone rang, Gargarita answered the phone which made Irene upset. Irene then left the car, with Gargarita and a friend following after her to the Old Traditions back parking lot across the street. Hoping to get Irene home safely, Gargarita and Irene called Irene's uncle and ex-husband, Anthony. Shortly after, Gargarita says Anthony pulled up in a red four runner and without exchanging words, Anthony swung his arms wildly at Gargarita despite Irene's attempts to stop the two. In his testimony, Gargarita states he never wanted to fight and initially didn't fight back. When Irene made a second attempt to stop the fight, she was knocked down and left unconscious. The two began an exchange of punches when Gargarita says he grabbed Anthony by the shirt to pull him to the ground. That's when the fight continued on the pavement with the men rolling. Gargarita says he tried to lean back to avoid Anthony's punches using his hands to push Anthony away as Anthony continued to swing. In Anthony's attempt to get up, Gargarita executes a rear naked chokehold until he felt safe to let go - what Gargarita reported on the stand today felt like a minute long.

Although bystanders report Anthony had already blacked out, Gargarita says he waited for a cue in Anthony's fists to be safe. When he did feel safe, Gargarita says he got up and walked away with what he observed were bruises, cuts, and some blood. The next day, while at the Department of Corrections he learned Anthony had died.

Earlier today, Gargarita also informed the court he had been talking with Irene because she was hinting that her youngest child, only 4-months-old at the time, was Gargarita's child and not Anthony's. If Gargarita could see proof that the child was in fact his, he wanted to be an active player in the child's life.

We should note that prior to today's proceedings, Superior Court of Guam Judge Maria Cenzon denied defense's motion for judgment of acquittal. Cenzon noted that the government has presented enough evidence to continue with the trial for the jury to decide and not the court.
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