Sunday, June 22, 2014

Guam: Update on Prosecution of Chad Ryan Desoto, 21, Who Claimed Three Lives, Injured Eleven Others

According to The Pacific Daily News, as many as eleven Japanese witnesses will testify this week at the ongoing trial of Chad Ryan DeSoto, 21, is charged with three counts of aggravated murder and attempted murder in connection with an attack last February 2013 in Tumon.

Prosecutors are seeking to have DeSoto convicted of driving his car into a crowd of tourists near the SandCastle, driving along the sidewalk and crashing into an ABC Store near the Outrigger Guam Resort.

Court documents state that DeSoto exited his vehicle and began stabbing bystanders at will.
Three Japanese tourists died, two from stabbings, one from the first vehicle collision, and eleven others were injured.

If convicted of aggravated murder, DeSoto faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

COMMENT: In the interest of transparency, I am appalled by the fact that throughout the United States there seemingly is no agency of the federal government responsible for the prevention of violence by the mentally ill, or at least one that has accepted responsibility for finding solutions to the frequent and reoccurring violence that exists amongst those with diagnosed mental disease.

Whether such violence occurs on the Mainland or within the Commonwealth itself, the reality is the defendant, Chad Ryan DeSoto, 21, took three lives and attempted to kill eleven others on Guam at the time.

Whether it occurs on a school yard, in a movie theater, at a shopping mall, a university campus or a multitude of other locations where law-abiding citizens gather and assemble, none of us really knows when we will draw our last breath on Earth because of the federal government's failure to prevent violence throughout the land.

In preparing these remarks, I attempted to research the number of people killed by violent-prone and diagnosed mental patients. Sadly, the search took hours without finding an authoritative statistic.

The only conclusion that I can make is that the data is either unavailable or never data-based given the fear it would engender throughout US society.

During my research, though, I did find a HUFFINGTON POST report authored by Victoria A. Brownsworth, a Pulitzer prize winner to have the first daily column as a declared lesbian. I applaud her work and ask our readers to share in her moving, eloquent piece cited below:

Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2% of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.

When applied to the 2004 US Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.

Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6% or 1 in 17 — who suffer from a serious mental illness.

Nearly half (45%) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for two or more disorders, with severity strongly related to comorbity.

The case kicked off last week, when Deputy Attorney General Phillip Tydingco and Public Defender Service Corp. Executive Director Eric Miller each presented opening statements in the case. 

Miller, who is one of the attorneys defending the case, told the jury the case comes down to mental illness. He said DeSoto suffered from mental illness and that jurors couldn't convict the defendant unless they were absolutely certain he was entirely culpable for the crimes.

Tydingco, who is prosecuting the case with Assistant Attorney General Gerald Henderson, told jurors before Miller's statement that although DeSoto suffered from depression, it didn't affect his ability to distinguish right from wrong.

From Monday to Thursday, more than 20 witnesses testified as prosecutors built their case against the defendant.
Among them was Kaylani Quichocho, one of the eleven named victims in court documents and the only non-tourist among them.

Quichocho testified Thursday that she recognized DeSoto as a friend and former high school classmate the night of the attack.

The woman told the court that she tried calling out to DeSoto, asking him if he remembered her.

She said he didn't respond and began coming after her with a knife.

Surveillance footage presented in court depicted the woman being chased by a man with a knife among the tables and chairs of the Jungle Java Cafe outside the hotel.

This report will be periodically updated as new information comes to light.