Monday, August 4, 2014

Guam: Update--Chad Ryan DeSoto, 22, Convicted of Murdering Three Japanese Tourists, 11 Others

According The Associated Press,  a jury convicted a Guam man Monday (August 4) of murdering three Japanese tourists in a crash and stabbing rampage last year that injured 11 others.

The panel of ten women and two men rejected the mental illness defense of 22-year-old Chad Ryan DeSoto. His lawyers argued he spiraled out of control into a psychosis after his grandfather died and his girlfriend moved to Utah.

The jury agreed with prosecutors who said DeSoto knew what he was doing during the attack in a busy tourist spot on February 12, 2013. DeSoto was accused of barreling his car down a busy sidewalk, crashing it into a convenience store and getting out and stabbing people who were nearby.

DeSoto was also convicted of attempted murder. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced September 25. 

COMMENT: "Justice has been done for the families of the victims," Chief Prosecutor Phillip Tydingco said. "I want to thank all the jurors for doing their duty and for the hard work. I know it was long and grueling for them."

The defendant displayed no emotion as the verdict was read. Each individual juror verified his or her decision in a hearing that lasted 10 minutes.

The rampage rocked the small island US territory and raised questions of tourist safety in Japan and elsewhere. Guam's economy depends heavily on tourism.

Tourists killed include 81-year-old Kazuko Uehara and 29-year-old Rie Sugiyama, who were stabbed to death; and Hitoshi Yokota, 51, who was hit by a car and died in a hospital two days later. Another 11 people were injured, including two children.

The jury received voluminous instructions before commencing deliberations July 18, with jury instructions that took nearly five hours for Judge Anita Sukola to read and more than 100 pages of verdict sheets. The instructions included information on convicting DeSoto of lesser offenses.

Judge Sukola said that during the September 25 sentencing, she will set a future hearing for accusations that DeSoto, his girlfriend and one of his relatives violated a court order by communicating during the trial.