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Family not surprised by not guilty charges for murder

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 by Krystal Paco

Guam - Not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaugther - this straight from the jury in the Carl Gargarita trial who returned with a verdict after only a day's worth of deliberations.

A court clerk read, "We the jury, as to murder, we the jury in the above entitled case unanimously find the defendant Carl Florence E. Gargarita not guilty of the offense of murder as charged in the indictment." Continuing, the clerk announced, "As to manslaughter as a lesser include offense to murder we the jury in the above entitled case unanimously find the defendant Carl Florence E. Gargarita guilty of the offense of manslaughter as a lesser include offense of murder as charged in the indictment."

The verdict was a surprise to Cindy Nisay - the woman whose gasp was audible throughout the courtroom as the court clerk read the verdict late Monday afternoon.

Nisay is first cousins with Anthony Giralao. "We're expecting for murder but what can we do? Maybe there's not enough evidence," she said.

As we've been reporting, Giralao died last year in the hospital after blacking out in a bar fight. The cause of death? Asphyxiation.

In the early morning of June 15, 2013, Giralao reportedly initiated the fight with defendant Carl Gargarita in the parking lot of a Tumon bar. Earlier that night, Gargarita had met with Irene Giralao, Anthony's ex-wife, for drinks.

According to witness testimony, Anthony was the aggressor and the two exchanged punches before taking the fight to the pavement where they wrestled. Gargarita then executed a rear naked chokehold forcing Giralao to black out.

Giralao was taken to the hospital where he later died.

According to Nisay, such behavior is out of character for Anthony.

"Anthony is just a good boy. He's a family man. He's a good father, brother...I never think since he was still small no argument or fight even to his mom or his dad. He always obeyed what the parents were telling him. He's such a good boy," he said.

And while assistant public defender Peter Sablan declined to comment to media following the reading of the verdict, prosecution did.

Assistant Attorney General Gerald Henderson said, "The jury returned a verdict of guilty of manslaughter and found that he caused the death recklessly. We are satisfied with the verdict. We appreciate the jury's time and attention. I know I was a difficult thing for them to decide."

Henderson says a maximum sentence for manslaugther is 15 years when compared to a murder conviction which would have put Gargarita behind bars for life.

Henderson notes that Gargarita has the right to appeal the jury's decision. He also notes that the family will have the ability to participate in Gararita's sentencing by submitting victim impact statements as well as taking the stand to testify.

Gargarita's sentencing is slated for September 12.
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