FAMILY OF SLAIN FILIPINO SUES MERCED COUNTY

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Apr 8, 2013

SAN JOSE, Calif. – It’s been more than a year since 49-year old Benjamin “Bong” Munsayac was killed. But the pain still cuts deep for his grieving family.

On February 21, 2012, Benjamin was bludgeoned with a claw hammer and slashed with a box-cutter knife inside a care facility he owned in Merced, California.

“He does not deserve to die that way. He’s a good person,” his former wife, Regina-Reyes Trunnell said.

His children are still furious.

“Who wouldn’t be? It could have been anybody’s dad and I’m sure they would say the same thing,” said his daughter Bianca.

The suspected killer is Evan James Lovett, a 22-year old that Benjamin hired as a caregiver. Before he was killed, Benjamin had fired Lovett and his girlfriend, for reportedly not doing their jobs well.

The police arrested Lovett hours after the murder, following a tip from someone who saw his bloodied clothes.

Lovett has been charged with murder and is now in custody at the Merced County Jail. He has pleaded not guilty to the crime.

As they await verdict on Lovett’s case, Benjamin’s family has also sued the Merced County for more than $11 million, claiming gross negligence and wrongful death.

Days before the murder happened, Lovett was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and related charges. But he was released within days.

Benjamin’s family said Lovett should have been kept in custody because he was also facing felony drug charges.
“lf he was in jail, he could not have killed Benjamin. He killed him four days after his release,” Reyes-Trunnel said.

Roger Matzkind, chief litigator for the Merced County counsel’s office said, even if the claims in the complaint were true, there is no legal basis for a lawsuit. He argued that it was the court’s decision to release Lovett, not the county.

Matzkind plans to respond in writing to the lawsuit soon, to ask that the case be dismissed.

You may contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • kikayPang0
    9 April 2013 at 6:46 am - Reply

    Its extortion time !!!!

  • noz
    10 April 2013 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    this guy was out for revenge to kill the victim, no matter what it takes. imprisonment for years will not change the killer hate to fulfill his plan to kill the person he sees have done wrong, and put him in state of miseries. this is where arming oneself with gun or guns in order to neutralize the plan of the killer, survival of the fittest in this world full of violence. any body can file lawsuits to present in the court of law hard evidences the death was caused by defendant’s negligence. the murder incident is horrible, the love ones left behind will always be in pain, that will never go away, you would not even wish them to your worst enemy.

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