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Back Local News Home invasion trial begins despite discovery snag

Home invasion trial begins despite discovery snag

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THE jury trial against the principal suspect in the attempted murder of a Nimitz Hill resident got underway yesterday despite a snag in the presentation of government discoveries.

Raymond Torres Tedtaotao, one of the suspects who allegedly invaded a residence on Ocean View Drive in Piti on April 20, yesterday faced a Superior Court jury with his lawyer, Sam Teker.

In an opening statement before the jury, Assistant Attorney General Brian Gallagher said Tedtaotao, together with a minor, Kyle Cruz, and Anthony Mendiola, met, drove up to a home and knocked on a door which was answered by the victim.

“Unfortunately, she opened the door and Tedtaotao beat her up, tied her with duct tape while Cruz and Mendiola looked around the house for whatever they could take. The three left her bleeding, unconscious on the floor and she was found by her roommates lying on the floor with massive swelling on her face. Her injury was so severe that it required brain surgery and continued hours of treatment, and off-island therapy,” Gallagher told the jury.

Gallagher said the crime was planned with intent to kill. "This was a beating with the intent to kill, to eliminate witnesses, to make sure there was nobody left behind for police to talk to about who was there and who did it to them,” he said.

“You will hear evidence how Tedtaotao did his part, how he inflicted serious bodily injury on the victim whose arms and legs were bound by duct tape. You would hear it from his co-conspirator who will testify against Tedtaotao,” Gallagher told the jury.

The witness Gallagher was referring was Cruz, the minor who entered a plea deal and agreed to testify for the government.

Teker, however, said he is not disputing that the victim was hurt and duct taped and he will not dispute that there was an attempted murder incident but he will dispute that Tedtaotao was involved in the case.

He said it was Mendiola and two other men who had gone to the home to move furniture.

"Another witness will testify that on the night in question, Matthew Manibusan came to his house with two other individuals. One of those individuals had a handgun on that night,” Teker said.

“The government failed to mention that the victim failed to pick Tedtaotao from the photo lineup. She was able to identify Anthony Mendiola but not Tedtaotao,” Teker told the jury.

The defense lawyer warned the jury not to rely on the testimony of Cruz whom he said provided conflicting statements and will testify against Tedtaotao to avoid a life sentence.

Teker added that there was no physical evidence, no DNA, no fingerprints, and the victim was not able to point him out in a photo lineup.

“Who was left? Kyle Cruz, the 16-year-old kid who has admitted that he broke into this lady’s house (and) helped tie her up. He gave conflicting statements, he got five years, and he is looking at a life sentence. He will do everything to save his life,” Teker said.

Witnesses

The government called two members of Guam Fire Department Emergency Medical Units who described the victim’s condition when they arrived at the scene on the night of the incident.

The firefighters said the victim was unresponsive with a large bruise on her face.

The firefighters rushed the victim to Naval Hospital.

Before Judge Maria Cenzon allowed the lawyers to start their opening statements, the court questioned the unmarked evidence of the government and whether the defense had been in receipt of the discovery.

Another government lawyer, David Rivera, told the court that the 22 boxes of discovery material were just acquired from the Guam Police Department and the Naval Criminal Investigation Service a day before the opening of the trial and it hasn’t been marked yet.

The defense attorney raised concerns that they were not given an opportunity to review the evidence.

But because the defense did not make a prior request, the court ruled to proceed with the opening statement and decided to put adjourn the trial after hearing two witnesses.

The trial will resume tomorrow at 9 a.m.

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