Defendant in Yap murder case gets 7 months for gun charges

Colonia, Yap— One of the two defendants in the murder of Yap’s former acting Attorney General Rachelle Bergeron-Hammerling has been sentenced to seven months in jail for unrelated arms charges.

Francis Choay Buchun received a slap on the wrist from the FSM Supreme Court despite the prosecution’s recommendation for a maximum of 10 years behind bars. Public Defender Timoci Romanu, who represented Buchun, counter-proposed a three-year jail term for his client.

The sentencing, held on Sept. 16, was for a case of illegal possession of a 9MM pistol and 50 rounds of ammunition and carrying a firearm, a crime committed on June 26, 2019. This case was unrelated to the Bergeron-Hammerling murder.

Buchun is facing a separate murder case in the Yap State Supreme Court, along with Anthony Teteeth, for the killing of Bergeron-Hammerling on Oct. 14, 2019.

For the weapons charges, FSM Supreme Court Associate Justice Larry Wentworth presided over Buchun’s sentencing from Pohnpei via Zoom video conferencing with participants calling in from Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap due to the travel ban. The sentencing was originally set for April 24, 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic.