MANILA, Philippines—A man was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Quezon City court for raping and killing his neighbor, a nursing student, in her house seven years ago.
Assisting judge Genie Gapas-Agbada of Regional Trial Court Branch 221 found the accused, Kim Ojano, guilty of rape with homicide for the killing of Jaclyn Margarette Crespo on May 27, 2005.
The court also told him to pay his victim’s heirs P50,000 in moral damages, P50,000 in civil indemnity, P294,936.60 in actual damages, P25,000 in exemplary damages and P250,000 in attorney’s fees.
In a 19-page decision promulgated on Wednesday, the court noted that “the chain of circumstances in the case at bar can lead to the conclusion that the accused was the one who raped and killed the victim.”
Crespo was living alone on Bayabas Street in Palmera Homes, Barangay (village) Sta. Monica, Fairview, as her family was already based in the United States. Ojano was her neighbor.
Court records showed that at about 12:30 a.m. of May 27, 2005, a female neighbor saw Ojano and another man pass by the victim’s house twice.
A female neighbor, who used to sweep the front of her house in the afternoon the same time as Crespo, noted that the victim failed to go out of the house and do her daily routine.
The witness told the court that she sent Crespo several text messages but got no reply, prompting her to go to the nursing student’s house and check on her.
The neighbor found the door of the house unlocked and Crespo naked from the waist down, her hands and feet tied with cord and cloth. Police investigation showed the victim was strangled.
Residents in the area told police that Ojano’s group was having a drinking session the night before at the vacant lot beside the victim’s house.
Court records showed that the investigation eventually led to Ojano, who, when questioned by police, tried to hide the scratches on his face, neck and arms with a baseball cap.
The accused, in his defense, said he got the injuries from his dog and during a basketball game. He also claimed that he was asleep at the time of the crime and that he was illegally arrested and beaten up.
The court noted that when questioned by police, the accused was accompanied by a woman, whom he introduced as his lawyer, and that he agreed to undergo a physical examination, fingerprinting and DNA tests to rule him out as a possible suspect.
Agbada pointed out that the lawyer, a certain Rowena Alcantara, together with Ojano signed the consent form.
Court records showed that based on the results, Ojano’s fingerprints were found a few feet away from the victim’s body and that his DNA matched the samples taken from the fingernails of the victim.
The accused also tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride, or “shabu,” an illegal substance.
“The circumstances formed an unbroken chain leading to one fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused, to the exclusion of all the others, as the guilty person,” the court said in its decision.
Agbada noted that Ojano also admitted in an interview with TV reporter Gus Abelgas that he committed the crime, although the accused had pleaded not guilty when arraigned for the crime.
As to the accused’s alibi, the court said the accused must prove that it was also physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene.