Joe Bautista Duenas was indicted on charged of aggravated assault, child abuse and family violence, all as felonies. The baby’s mother is facing the same charges but was also charged with attempted murder.
Guam – The bail amount for the man accused of burning his one year old step-son with cigarettes and a lighter was reduced significantly from $300,000 to now just $5,000.
When 38-year-old Joe Bautista Duenas and the child’s mother, 32-year-old Crissy Jean Manley were first arrested about two weeks ago, Duenas was placed on $300,000 cash bail and Manley on $500,000. The one year old baby’s condition was critical at the time. He was on life support, barely clinging to life and his parents were accused of severely abusing him. Manley allegedly placied baby in a choke-hold and slapped him with an open palm.
Today, at his arraignment, Duenas pleaded not guilty to all three felony charges of aggravated assault, child abuse and family violence. His attorney, Howard Trapp then fought for his client to be released, arguing that Duenas should actually be credited with saving his step-son’s life.
“If it was not for the intervention of Mr. Duenas, I think we could assume that that child would be dead today. He’s only charged with a matter of something about a cigarette lighter or something, and heating it up so the baby wouldn’t touch it. Nobody says he had anything to do with the injuries to the child,” Trapp argued.
“The people object to Mr. Duenas’ release. Actually I wouldn’t agree with the characterization of the facts by Mr. Trapp. As a matter of fact, the defendant Duenas did watch the defendant Manley strike the child but did not report it. The only reason why this was reported was because the baby later on in the week was allegedly choking on a coin and that’s why they proceeded to the hospital. So there was actually no intervention. I would actually say there was complicity in Ms. Manley’s conduct by Mr. Duenas,” disputed Assistant Attorney General Christine Tenorio.
Trapp disagreed with Assistant Attorney General Christine Tenorio pointing out that Duenas had no legal obligation to intervene.
“Apparently there’s no reason to believe that he’s talking about the intervention. That is not the case. And the child did live. There’s no reason to believe that he had an active part in harming the child,” Trapp said. “So what are they worried about? He’s going to go out into the community. He’s going to see somebody hurting a child and he’s not going to intervene? I think that’s foolish.”
“No, your honor. I would like to highlight that he did burn the baby with a cigarette lighter,” Tenorio said.
Judge Alberto Tolentino however agreed with Attorney Trapp.
“The court agrees that a cash bail was warranted however upon reconsideration of the alleged role you had, the court will reduce the bail amount to $5,000 in cash. Given the nature and seriousness of the alleged offense that condition is appropriate,” Judge Tolentino stated.
Meanwhile, Manley also appeared in court and was supposed to be arraigned but her defense attorney informed Judge Tolentino that they had not yet received a copy of the indictment. Manley is facing charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, child abuse and family violence, all as felonies. She’s being held on $500,000 cash bail.
Her arraignment was rescheduled to March 18 at 11 am.
GRMC Spokesperson Kevin Kerrigan says that since the child is now in protective custody, he can no longer issue the condition of the baby.
However, he did tell us that the one year old is still confined at GRMC. He was listed in stable condition as of March 8.