Re-trial for man convicted of murdering his girlfriend over burnt rice may not proceed

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Guam – The retrial of a convicted murderer who won his appeal in Supreme Court may not be moving forward.  Clifford San Nicolas was convicted in 2015 of shooting his girlfriend Valerie Borja over burnt rice. She initially survived the shooting but died a year later.

During his trial, San Nicolas’ attorney asked the presiding judge to poll jurors about a media article they may have been exposed to, but he was denied.

He later appealed the conviction in the Supreme Court which ruled partly in San Nicolas’ favor because “the jurors likely were exposed to the unfairly prejudicial material in the article and the trial court should have examined the jury after learning of the article during trial.”

The higher court vacated San Nicolas’ convictions for intentional murder, reckless murder and family violence, however, they upheld San Nicolas’ conviction for possession of a firearm without an identification card.

In court this week, San Nicolas’ attorney John Terlaje noted that negotiations continue with the government on a plea agreement.

The next hearing is set for February 8.

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.