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Judge: Teen to be held without bail in Summerlin stabbing death

Updated September 9, 2021 - 6:04 pm

A judge ruled Thursday that Ethan Goin, the 16-year-old accused of leaving school and fatally stabbing a man in Summerlin last month, will continue to be held without bail.

Deputy Public Defender Sarah Hawkins requested that media access to the court be limited during Goin’s hearings, alleging that coverage of the case is “eliciting such disgusting comments about a juvenile, a child, that is poisoning the jury pools, terrorizing the family.”

But Justice of the Peace Harmony Letizia rejected that request.

Goin, who was enrolled at Palo Verde High School in Summerlin at the time of the killing, was not present in court Thursday due to a COVID-19 quarantine. He is accused of stabbing Vergel Guintu, 48, in the neck on Aug. 27 at his home on the 10000 block of Kenton Place.

According to prosecutor Pam Weckerly, Guintu had dropped his 9-year-old off at school earlier that morning before returning to his home.

Guintu, his wife and mother-in-law heard a noise coming from a downstairs bedroom, according to Weckerly, and Guintu went to investigate. His mother-in-law soon followed, according to Goin’s arrest report, and saw “an intruder, dressed all in black, with a mask over his face, and a hood drawn tight around his face.” She then turned and saw that Guintu had been wounded.

A GoFundMe campaign was started last week for Guintu’s family. It had raised $5,250 as of Thursday afternoon.

‘So full of life’

According to the page, Guintu was a father of two and a clinical instructor who taught nursing students at Roseman University. Many of his former students commented on the page, thanking Guintu for believing in them and sending love to his family.

“He was so full of life and passion to see us succeed as future nurses,” one student wrote. “3 years later, I still remember his impact & his funny stories.”

“My classmates and I only spent an hour with him but during our time with him, he shared his story, made us laugh, and left us extremely encouraged as students!” another wrote. “I could tell he wanted nothing but the best for us as future nurses and for that – I thank him, we all thank him!”

Weckerly said that when Goin was found several hours after the stabbing, he was wearing clothes consistent with the mother-in-law’s description of the intruder and had glass in his sleeves, which was consistent with investigators’ belief that the killer entered the home through a broken window.

When Goin was detained, he told officers that he felt he was being bullied at school, so he left campus and jumped a wall near his neighborhood. According to his arrest report, he claimed he did not remember the stabbing but discovered his knife had blood on it when he got home later that Friday.

Goin told detectives he went back to school and walked past officers investigating the death as he visited his gym later in the day, the report said. When he was detained, the teen said he was headed to a friend’s house to hide the knife.

“Goin did not wish to inform the police of his actions because he knew his life would be over,” police wrote in the report.

Goin’s confession

Weckerly said in court Thursday that Goin ultimately gave a statement to detectives “indicating he had done something bad, that’s his wording, at this residence.”

“I think there are some issues with regard to mental health, but what there is not an issue to is whether or not he’s the one responsible,” Weckerly said.

Letizia agreed, noting that Goin ultimately confessed to police.

“I think the strongest factor here is that he ultimately admitted to what took place,” she said.

And after making that admission, the judge said, “he continued to check the internet for newspaper articles or for information on what happened, and he learned that it was a fatal stabbing, and he knew that he was the one responsible for it.”

A student named Ethan Goin attended Fertitta Middle School and was nominated as student of the month in September 2017, according to the school’s website.

“Ethan is a wonderful example of what you can achieve with hard work,” the anonymous nomination on the website reads. “Im so proud of the way he has stepped up, taken ownership of his learning, and is a terrific student.”

Contact Alexis Ford at aford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0335. Follow @alexisdford on Twitter.