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Guam - Emmanuel Peter Cepeda has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of mental illness in Superior Court today in the shooting death of his wife, Emma Catapang Cepeda. It’s the second time in a matter of just a week that a defendant has entered an insanity plea after being accused of murder.
36- year-old Emmanuel Peter Cepeda calmly walked into the courtroom today to answer to the charge that he murdered his wife, Emma Catapang Cepeda on February 17. Emmanuel was silent throughout his arraignment except to answer to Judge Alberto Tolentino. His defense attorney, Jeff Warfield, entered a plea of not guilty by reason of mental illness.
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In addition to a psychological evaluation, Judge Tolentino also granted a request for discovery and grand jury proceedings on a disc to the defense, as well as 12-panel jury trial.
While he appeared in court for a murder charge today, Cepeda is still facing charges of family violence and terrorizing in a separate case involving his wife Emma. In October of last year, Cepeda was arrested after Emma Cepeda told police that he had physically assaulted her and held a knife to her neck.
Cepeda was arrested on October 18 and held on a $2,000 bail. But about 6 days later he was released from prison on a personal recognizance bond. Personal recognizance essentially means that Cepeda was released on good behavior, but would be required to pay the bail amount if he violated the condition of his release--for example, not showing up to his court dates.
According to court files, Cepeda was only facing misdemeanor charges in October last year. He answered to the charges on November 28 and while Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Quan requested to increase his bail from $2,000 to $5,000, all Cepeda needed to do was simply sign a piece of paper with the new conditions of his release. He was not required to return to prison.
It wasn’t until December 20th that the misdemeanor charges were dropped and new family violence charges filed, this time as felonies. He was then summoned to appear again in court on February 20th, just 3 days after his estranged wife was murdered.
Cepeda’s next hearing is scheduled for March 27 at 9:30 am. Meanwhile, Guam Police Department Spokesman Officer AJ Balajadia says an internal affairs investigation is still ongoing to determine if any officer violated GPD policies related to a protection order filed by Emma Cepeda last October.
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