All 8 men accused of beating Ernest to death have history of violent offenses

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Guam – The eight men accused of beating detainee Manson Ernest to death last December have a history of violence and were imprisoned on felony charges–one of them was even facing aggravated murder charges.

The eight men implicated in the death of Manson Ernest are Albert Santos Jr. Jaxindo Kose, Marvin Rechim, Bentser Benjamin, A-Last Simiron, Islar Miller, Andrew Rios Jr. and Jimmy Moses Hadley.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Santos: implicated in the beating of DOC inmate Justin Meno in 2017. Until Thursday, he faced charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault.
  • Kose: In 2017 was charged with first degree robbery involving a string of robberies. In one incident a store owner was assaulted.
  • Rechim: charged in 2017 for offenses that include home invasion and terrorizing. In 2018 he was accused of attempting to run over a police officer.
  • Benjamin: In 2014 was charged with aggravated assault, robbery, and use of a deadly weapon.
  • Simiron: was charged with aggravated murder, robbery, assault and manslaughter, among other charges, in the 2017 death of Gilbert Alvarez.
  • Miller: In 2014 was accused of using sticks and stones to rob a gas station. Then in 2016, he was arrested after being implicated in another burglary and theft.
  • Rios: was arrested in 2016 for kidnapping, child abuse, aggravated assault and threatening to kill a woman.
  • Hadley: In 2018 was arrested for assault on a police officer.

So how is it that these eight men ended up housed in an open bay prison setting at the Hagatna Lockup when the allegations against them are violent in nature, one of whom had already been accused of brutally assaulting another prisoner just nine months earlier?

Apparently it is standard procedure. Because these men have not been adjudicated, DOC Director Kate Baltazar stressed that the defendants are innocent until proven guilty. The men are listed as detainees who are being held pre-trial and as such “do not go through the same ACC process as inmates.”

“There is a Level 1 and Level 2 designation depending on what crime they are being held for but the key here is that they have not been convicted,” Baltazar told PNC.

According to Baltazar, the classifications are not as rigorous as the process inmates–meaning those who have already been convicted–go through. Baltazar could not share what classification these eight men were designated, but she did acknowledge that they are violent offenders and there is a propensity for violence. She adds that their classification didn’t determine that they had to be held in a secure unit.

But what about Santos? the Department of Corrections was fully aware that he had been implicated in the beating of DOC inmate Justin Meno and that incident took place in the Maximum security unit of the Mangilao compound. How did he end up at the open bay unit at the Hagatna lockup?

That is a question that remains unanswered as the deputy director did not have the information. She did share that there are several reason any detainee could be placed at Hagatna Lockup such as a court order or administrative or disciplinary reasons.

The question on everyone’s mind is how did eight men beat another person to death without guards noticing the commotion, let alone the change in clothing. Both those questions also remain unanswered as Baltazar stated the investigation is under the purview of the Guam Police Department and DOC cannot speak to that matter.

SOURCEJolene Toves
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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.