7-year sentence imposed on beating case
by Mindy Aguon
Guam - One of three men charged in the brutal beating of Cameron Masnayon was sentenced in the Superior Court of Guam today. Due to plea agreements that were offered, without the victim's knowledge, Michael Rosal, Jr. faced between three and seven years behind bars.
Rosal was sentenced to seven years behind bars today. He addressed the court during the hearing apologizing to the victim, Masnayon, his family and to the island. Rosal's attorney, Louie Yanza, asked that his client receive the minimum, or three years, as outlined in the plea agreement. Yanza said the March 18, 2012 incident was not aggravated assault or attempted murder, but a case of mutual combat. He went on to say that it was Masnayon who was the aggressor who called his client out to fight and brought a baseball bat.
The defense attorney claimed his client acted in self defense. Rosal stood and read his statement to the court saying the incident was a "big misunderstanding that went too far" and it was the "biggest mistake" of his life and things got heated. He accepted full responsibility but asked the court for "a reasonable and fair chance" so that he could become a better person from this.
Assistant Attorney General David Rivera went through the events of the night of March 18, explaining that Masnayon and a friend, Christian Lastimoza, were out at a club when he and Rosal exchanged words in the parking lot. A series of cell phone calls then led to a meeting that resulted in the beating. Rivera said Rosal made the choice to pick up the bat, even after the victim was disarmed and laying on the ground, and beat him "viciously". Rosal was on pre-trial release at that time for another assault case.
Rivera told the court that Rosal "is a danger to the community and is hot headed as his solution is to respond violently with complete, unrestrained rage that has terrible consequences."
The prosecution asked for a seven-year sentence, the maximum allowed under the plea agreement. The statute for aggravated assault as a 2nd degree felony is actually a maximum of ten years behind bars and a $10,000 fine. But the Attorney General's Office agreed to allow Rosal to plead out, something that came as a surprise to Masnayon and his family. His mother, Barbara Tayama, spoke during today's sentencing saying aside from the incredible challenges the family has faced with her son's recovery over the last 13 months, they felt "ignored by the system" as they had "little to no advocacy for the trauma her son endured while suffering financial, physical, mental and emotional distress.
Tayama said, "Upon our return from rehabilitation, we were victimized a second time around when plea deals were offered without our knowledge. Unfortunate but very true... we are left to hope that by publicly sharing our concern that I will be a voice for other victims to have fair and better representation from those that we entrust to bring justice to its highest extent."
Cameron's father, Darryle, also addressed the court saying, "Three to seven years will not take back what my son went through." As a result of the brutal beating, Cameron Masnayon is now deaf in his left ear, lost his sense of smell and partially his taste, and has emotional and impulsive behavior. He underwent numerous surgeries and ten months of rehabilitation, which still continues. Cameron however has forgiven Michael Rosal, Jr., Michael's brother, Daniel and William San Nicolas. He took the stand today and apologized for initiating the incident saying he has used this time to learn. Cameron says, "This has been a life lesson for all of us. I hope we all walk away as better people."
Judge Arthur Barcinas said the court reviewed all of the aggravating factors in the case and attempted to find mitigating factors but said he could find none to the "violent crime with tragic consequences". He sentenced Michael Rosal to seven years with credit for time served, and ordered that he be placed on three years special parole term upon his release and have no contact with the victim. Rosal must also complete an anger management program.
A restitution hearing is scheduled for September 27. The other co-defendants are waiting to be sentenced.