Attorney Janet H. King has asked the Superior Court to appoint an expert in forensic DNA analysis and another in cell phone forensics to help her defend her client, Joseph A. Crisostomo, who is facing charges for the kidnapping and murder of bartender Emerita Romero.
King asked the court to appoint as expert witnesses for the defense Dr. David Haymer, a professor of genetics in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Manfred Schenk of Cherry Biometrics Inc. and Schenk Consultants in Virginia.
King said that Dr. Haymer agrees for compensation at a rate of $150 per hour, and a maximum compensation of $2,000, while Schenk also agrees to a maximum compensation of $2,000.
The lawyer said she will make further applications for payment of additional fees, and, if necessary, transportation costs and lodging expenses if required.
King said an expert in the field of forensic DNA analysis is necessary to aid the defense in order to fully evaluate the DNA evidence and claims of the government’s own DNA expert witnesses.
“In a first degree murder prosecution, especially in which DNA evidence will be a significant factor in the presentation of the evidence at trial, without the requested expert assistance, the defendant’s defense would be gutted, resulting in prejudice,” she said.
King said an expert in the field of cell phone forensics is also necessary to assist the defense in order to fully evaluate the evidence and claims of the government’s own witnesses.
King said the government claims that cell phone tower evidence will show Crisostomo’s general location based on his use of a cell phone and on the assumption that a cell phone connects to the closest cell tower when it is used.
The court in April 2013 approved King’s request to appoint two Guam lawyers as her co-counsel for Crisostomo, a habitual offender.
Police arrested the 39-year-old Crisostomo on Feb. 22, 2013, for the killing of Romero, whose body was found at the former La Fiesta Mall in San Roque on Feb. 7, 2012. He has also been linked to other unsolved murders of some Chinese women.
The defendant’s jury trial will be on Oct. 7, 2013.