Prisoner Justin Meno, beaten inside DOC, has died

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It’s not clear if charges against his alleged attackers will be upgraded from attempted murder to murder.

Guam – The inmate who was found hog-tied and badly beaten back in March has passed away this morning.

The Department of Corrections has confirmed that Justin Meno died. What this could mean for his alleged attackers, Jeremiah Isezaki, Albert Babauta Santos and Peter Gines, remains unclear.

It’s been just a little over six months since Justin Meno, a detainee at the Department of Corrections, was beaten to the brink of death in the yard of post 6 or the prison’s maximum security unit. He was hog-tied and his face was unrecognizable by the time he was found.

He spent several weeks in the ICU at the Guam Memorial Hospital. But when he finally woke up, police say he was able to ID his attackers. At least three inmates, all of whom were also housed at post 6 at the time of the beating, were charged with attempted murder: Jeremiah Isezaki, Albert Babauta Santos and Peter Gines.

All three were also among those let out of their jail cells at the time of the brutal attack. Why were they out of their jail cells in a unit that’s supposed to be on lockdown 23 hours a day? Because of what appeared to be a deliberate clogging of water pipes that caused flooding, as indicated in DOC’s own internal affairs report.

Now, just over six months later, Meno has died. Department of Corrections Deputy Director Kate Baltazar confirms that they received a call from Meno’s family informing them of his death. Baltazar could not provide further details because Meno was no longer in DOC custody—he had been placed on house arrest or hospital arrest several weeks ago.

The case drew widespread attention and resulted in the discipline of four corrections officers. One officer was terminated, two others suspended and one reprimanded. But even the department acknowledged some shortcomings in its operations that day.

At the time of Justin Meno’s beating, there were only two corrections officers overseeing the entire maximum security unit which housed 47 of DOC’s most unruly inmates—an apparent breach of protocol. In addition, the CO who initially found Meno did not have a radio to call for backup, delaying medical assistance to the prisoner.

Now that Meno has died, what does this mean for the three inmates accused of his brutal assault? At this point it’s unclear whether the Guam Police Department or the Attorney General’s Office will be seeking to upgrade the charges against Isezaki, Santos and Gines from attempted murder to murder.

The Attorney General’s Office declined to comment pending the outcome of the investigation. The Guam Police Department has not returned our request for comment.

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