DOJ secures court victory against killer of American national

16 September 2015

The Department of Justice secured the conviction for murder of a gardener who stabbed to death an American national in Batangas in 2007.

In the Information filed by the Batangas Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, Mark Anthony Manuel was indicted for Murder (Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code) as amended by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7659 (An Act to Impose the Death Penalty on Certain Heinous Crimes) for the gruesome killing of his employer, Harold Williams Adams, 96, in his house at No. 20, Maligaya Beach, Barangay Bucana, Nasugbu, Batangas.

During trial, the prosecution presented several witnesses including the secretary in the resort owned by Adams.

She narrated that she was instructed by Adams to demand payment of  Manuel’s P200,000 loan which he was able to secure from Adams’ wife, Nonalita in September 2006. Under the terms of the loan, Manuel was to pay “the same after six (6) months at 5% monthly interest.” She said Manuel promised to pay on August 15, 2007.

However, a day prior to the said date, Adams was found dead inside his room. “The victim sustained multiple sharp force injuries of the neck, chest, arm and forearm,” a Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Batangas, Branch 14 said.

The prosecution also presented as witness a tutor of one of Adams’ grandchildren.  She testified that at the time of the incident, she “saw Mark stabbing him [Adams]” as she peeped through the door of Adams’ bedroom.

She recounted that she saw “Mr. Adams [was] lying on the left side of the bed while Mark was at the side of the bed. Mark was holding his knife with his right hand while his left hand was on the face of Mr. Adams, covering his face. The left hand of Mr. Adams, upon the other hand, was holding the hand of Mark which held the knife as if trying to stop him.”

In the 27-page Decision, the court found Manuel guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of Murder and imposed upon him the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua with all its accessory penalties.

He was also ordered to pay the heirs of the victim a total of P435,000 in civil indemnity and damages.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima hailed the prosecution for securing a conviction on the case. She noted that “the prosecution team presented a total of 15 witnesses whose testimonies bolstered the case against the accused.”

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