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Convicted murderer San Nicolas demands new trial

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It was back in January 2013 Valene Borja and her boyfriend Clifford San Nicolas got into an argument over burnt rice. That's when San Nicolas allegedly pulled out a gun - a .22-caliber rifle - and shot Borja in the neck.

Earlier this year, San Nicolas was convicted of murder, but he's hoping to try his luck again - this time before a new set of jurors.

A convicted murderer is seeking not only a judgment of acquittal, but a new trial altogether. Attorney Douglas Moylan represents San Nicolas, whose injury left Borja paralyzed and ultimately killed her a year later. Defense's motion for acquittal states "the motion is based upon the legally unrefuted statement from the alleged victim that Clifford did not shoot her coupled with the position that she informed the medic crew where she was struck." Defense's motion for a new trial cites failure to poll the jury, the court permitting hearsay in prosecution's closing arguments, and inconsistent verdicts.

According to prosecutor Brian Gallagher however, the evidence speaks for itself - San Nicolas is guilty. "Based on what I would submit is a very clean trial the jury did get a full picture and they were very convinced on this defendant's guilt," he said.

San Nicolas took the stand in his defense earlier this year where he admitted he couldn't remember if he pulled the trigger on his girlfriend. He also admitted he couldn't remember taking her to the fire station for help. For days leading to the incident, he had been under the influence of crystal meth and may have told law enforcement a stray bullet came from the one side of the jungle.

The shooting occurred at San Nicolas' ranch in Dededo where he says he often heard gunshots echo in the distance from hunters likely looking for wild pigs. Wild pigs often came to the ranch in search of food. San Nicolas also testified that when he was under the influence of "ice" he would see shadows, see people walking who weren't there, hear footsteps in the jungle, and hear people whispering.

Whether he gets another shot at changing his fate is now up to Judge Michael Bordallo, who said, "The court will take under advisement the motion for acquittal and the motion for a new trial. It will issue a decision according to the time frame set in the rules."

Bordallo informed parties he would have a decision within 30 days. San Nicolas' next hearing is set for July 16.

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