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A Filipino seafarer has been sentenced to 20 years in U.S. prison for the brutal murder of a direct supervisor on board a MSC containership off the coast of California.
Michael Dequito Monegro, 44, a resident of the Philippines, was sentenced by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer, who said in court at today’s hearing that Monegro’s “conduct was unusually heinous, cruel and brutal.”
He previously pleaded guilty in May to one count of committing an act of violence against a person onboard a ship that is likely to endanger the safe navigation of the ship.
Monegro worked aboard the MSC Ravenna when the murder took place on September 20, 2020, as the ship was underway approximately 80 nautical miles from Southern California and wrapping up a two-week voyage from Shanghai to the Port of Los Angeles.
Several crew members were in a dressing room on the ship’s upper deck and witnessed the gruesome incident.
As they were preparing for their shift and waiting for their direct supervisor to provide their work assignments for the day, Monegro saw the supervisor and began stabbing him with a knife while they were both in the hallway in full view of several other crew members.
The victim grappled with Monegro and the two fell to the floor. Monegro then got on top of the victim and continued stabbing him. He then removed a second knife from the victim’s coveralls and began stabbing the victim with both knives.
Crew members attempted to intervene to stop the attack, including throwing a trash can at him, but they were unsuccessful. Monegro stopped stabbing the victim only when he became too tired to continue. Authorities said he stabbed the victim a total of 31 times.
The ship’s captain, chief mate and chief engineer all arrived on scene during the incident and eventually convinced Monegro to get off the victim. They then convinced him to go to a conference room, where he placed the knives on the conference room table before being escorted to his cabin, where crew members were assigned to guard the door.
Other crewmembers were traumatized by witnessing the incident. The victim died on board.
Federal agents arrested Monegro after the ship docked at the Port of Los Angeles on September 27, 2020, and he has been in federal custody ever since.
“The tragic impact of defendant’s conduct cannot be overstated,” prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum. “[Monegro’s] murder of M.S. left behind M.S.’s wife and daughter, who was 17 at the time of the murder. M.S. was the sole bread winner for the family, and his death caused significant financial strain on the family.”
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