Joseph Sagdal pleads guilty to manslaughter - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Joseph Sagdal pleads guilty to manslaughter

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Just over eight years. That's how long the man accused in the 2017 double homicide in Harmon will spend behind bars. Joseph Sagdal, who was indicted on two counts of aggravated murder, took the government's deal. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in court today.    

Sagdal walked into Judge Maria Cenzon's courtroom ready to hear his fate. He told the court why he decided to take the prosecution's deal. "Guilty, Your Honor," he said.

Guilty for manslaughter as a first degree felony, adding, "There was a little bit of an altercation between me and the four gentlemen that were the car and after that I used my weapon against them and fired and ended up taking the two lives. Reckless because I shot my gun while I was in my car just basically fired." The judge asked, "Did you understand the consequences of your action at the time you fired your weapon?", to which Sagdal replied, "At the time I could honestly say I didn't up until the event was over."

 

The prosecution saying the shooting instructor should've known better.

It was in December 2017 near the Hemlani apartments in Harmon, Sagdal claims he was randomly hit in the face with a slingshot. He chased down his attackers, then shooting and killing Brokey Thamaso and A.V. Mwarecheong.

An emotional moment inside the courtroom. "All my life I had tried to be a good man," he said.

As Sagdal addressed the court before being taken back to the prison, noting, "My only intention to come to that place that night was to repay kindness that was shown to me when I needed it the most. Not to cause any pain to anybody.  These are lessons I will be taking with me for the rest of my life. Their deaths weigh heavily on my soul. I will serve time but I refuse to let this defy my existence."

Sagdal, who has spent the past year in prison, is sentenced to 15 years with all but nine years and three months suspended. He is also given credit for time already served. That means the 25 year old will spend just a over eight years locked up.

Defense attorney Clyde Lemons said, "The big thing he is going to get out, he will be in his 30's, he will be a young man. Had we gone to trial we might have won and we might have lost and he wouldn't spent the rest of his life in prison so that's the trade off."

Wife Myrose Mwarecheong said, "I am not satisfied with the plea. I want a longer jail time. But that was two lives. He left me with two kids." AV Mwarecheong's wife and others in his family are stunned with the outcome, adding, "No to me that's not being served. He didn't even say he's sorry. At least say sorry. I want to hear that - I don't know if he can provide everything my kids want and need since he took their father."

Even nearly one year later, she says her seven year old son and four year old daughter are still asking about dad.

"They just asked a few minutes ago where their dad. We don't know what to say."

The court noted Sagdal's deal was only for Mwarecheong's death. The government unable to get a hold of the other victim, Brokey Thamaso's, family.

 "That was the agreement we reached," said Lemons.

Sagdal is scheduled to return to court next year. A restitution hearing has been set for February 4.

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