Defense in Campbell murder hopes for lighter verdict for suspect
By XENIA RIBAYA
(Update: Killer of US Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell, Juan Donald Duntugan, was given a life sentence for murder)
Both the defense and prosecution panels in the murder trial on the death of US Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell are bracing for a court’s upcoming promulgation of its verdict.
The verdict is expected to be read on Monday.
“We expect a conviction because of the admission of the accused, but it will not be for the crime of murder. It may be at most, homicide,” said suspect Juan Donald Duntugan’s lawyer, Atty. Pedro Mayam-o in a phone interview.
In case Duntugan would be found guilty of homicide he would escape the maximum penalty of life imprisonment and would be meted a 20-year imprisonment instead, as stated under the Revised Penal Code.
The prosecution, meanwhile, is confident. “We are leaving it all to God. whatever happens is the will of God,” said lead prosecution counsel, Atty. Raynaldo Agranzamendez, in a phone interview.
Campbell was declared missing on April 8, 2007. She was last seen alone, trekking through the rice terraces of Batad, Banaue, Ifugao. After ten days, her decomposing body was found buried in a shallow grave.
Coinciding with Campbell’s first death anniversary was the final hearing on the murder case of Duntugan at the Ifugao Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 34 in Banaue, Ifugao.
The defense presented their last witness, Police Officer 3 Arnold Daluyon, uncle of Duntugan who purportedly helped in the latter’s surrender to police officials.
After Duntugan surrendered to the authorities, he admitted killing Campbell stating that he thought she was his neighbor Emiliano Blas. Duntugan said he thought Blas, who he said was his enemy, was ready to attack him.
Presiding Judge Ester Piscoso-Flor of RTC Branch 34 then gave both the defense and prosecution panels 30 days to file their respective summary of the evidence presented in the trial.