LOS ANGELES – A Filipino man who fatally stabbed a fellow crewmember on a container ship en route from Shanghai to Los Angeles was sentenced today to 240 months in federal prison.
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.”
Monegro pleaded guilty on May 2 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.
In September 2020, Monegro was working as a seaman aboard the MSC Ravenna, a 153,000-gross-ton Liberian-flagged container ship. The murder took place on September 20, 2020, when the Ravenna was approximately 80 nautical miles from Southern California and nearing the end of its two-week voyage from Shanghai to the Port of Los Angeles.
That morning, several crewmembers were in a dressing room on the ship’s upper deck, preparing for their shift and waiting for their direct supervisor to provide their work assignments for the day. Shortly after Monegro saw his direct supervisor – identified in court documents as “M.S.” – in the hallway outside the locker room, Monegro began stabbing him with a knife while they were both in the hallway in full view of several crewmembers.
The victim grappled with Monegro and the two fell to the floor. Monegro then got on top of the victim and continued stabbing him. Monegro then removed a second knife from the victim’s coveralls and stabbed him with both knives.
Crewmembers attempted to intervene to stop Monegro, including throwing a trash can at him, but their actions were unsuccessful. Monegro stopped stabbing the victim only when he became too tired to continue. In total, Monegro stabbed the victim 31 times.
The ship’s captain, chief mate and chief engineer all arrived on scene during the incident, and the captain convinced Monegro to get off the victim, who died on the ship from multiple stab wounds.
Monegro was convinced by the captain to walk to a conference room. After continued discussions, Monegro placed the knives on the conference room table and was escorted to his cabin.
After the incident, Monegro was confined to a cabin and crewmembers were assigned to guard the door, so they were unable to perform their normal duties on the ship. Other crewmembers were traumatized by witnessing Monegro stab and kill the victim.
Federal agents arrested Monegro after the ship docked at the Port of Los Angeles on September 27, 2020. He has been in federal custody since his arrest.
“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.”
The FBI and the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Matthew W. O’Brien of the Environmental and Community Safety Crimes Section, Assistant United States Attorney Mark A. Williams, Chief of the Environmental and Community Safety Crimes Section, and Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey M. Chemerinsky of the Violent and Organized Crime Section prosecuted this case.