Re-trial of man accused of murdering his mother begins


The first trial for Allan Agababa ended in a hung jury.

Guam – The second murder trial of Allan Agababa began today with opening statements made by both the prosecution and defense.

“This is my client, Allan Aloan Agababa, and he is presumed innocent which means that you must start off this trial with the one fact absolute, he is presumed innocent, until you have heard all the evidence and you retire as a body to discuss this case and you are able to find certain facts that can only lead to the conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt of the charges against him,” stated Agababa’s lawyer Curtis Van de Veld.

For a second time Allan Agababa’s fate lies in the hands of 12 jurors. He is accused of murdering his mother, United Airlines Flight Attendant Shelly Bernstein in their beachfront apartment three years ago. Agababa’s first trial ended in a hung jury as the jury was unable to unanimously decide whether Agababa was guilty or not guilty.

On day one of the re-trial, four witnesses were called to the stand. First up, Robert Dod Plu, who lived in the apartment adjacent to Agababa and his mother. Plu testified once again about the events that unfolded the night Bernstein was discovered in her bed in a pool of blood. Plu is the first person Agababa brought into his home in the early morning hours of August 13, 2013.

“I was in bed and got a knock on the door and like I said we have the louvre windows and you could hear pretty good and someone on the outside and I just yelled who is it. Allan announced himself and that I need to get up and come take a look,” recalled Plu.

According to Plu, Agababa yelled “someone broke into my house…come see what they did.”

Plu testified that he then was ushered into the Bernstein’s apartment where Agababa led him into the bedroom where Bernstein lay dead on the bed. It was then Plu says he contacted authorities. While on the phone with police, Agababa went to the apartment of the second witness, Phillip Turner Cap.

Cap testified that like Plu, he too woke up to banging on his door by defendant Agababa. Cap stated that Agababa appeared to be frantic about the robbery and did not say anything to him about his mom before taking Cap into his mother’s bedroom.

“Once we got inside he kept kind of pointing around the living room, laptops were gone was what the robbery reference was too. Allan was showing me around the living room pointing out the things, the laptop was gone, and then after that I was herded, ushered into the bedroom and that’s where I saw Shelly,” recounted Cap.

While Agababa insisted that his home was broken into, three of the witnesses who testified in court stated that the home did not appear to be ransacked. While Guam Police Department Officer Tu Antonio corroborated that Agababa was seeking help for his mother, he testified that his check of the home did not reflect a robbery.

“As soon as we exited, I inquired what was going on. [Plu] said that his neighbor’s son woke him up and was asking for help because there was something wrong with his mother,” testified Officer Antonio. “The door, the wooden, I didn’t notice any signs of forced entry on the door. There was a screen on the doorway, no damage there. No damages to any of the windows around the residence. Well, they claimed that they were robbed so I would think there would be some type of forced entry.”

The GPD officer further testified that the apartment also did not appear to have been rummaged through, stating it “did not appear to have disarray or struggle.”

He added that it did not look like a burglary.

Trial will continue Tuesday with further testimony by Randall Fulcher Jr. and Leialoha Borja Robinson.

In court, the Government advised that both Fulcher and Robinson come from a criminal past, adding that Fulcher cut a deal with the government for his testimony in Agababa’s first case.

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.