The lawyer of murder suspect Joseph A. Crisostomo has opposed the Office of the Attorney General’s request to introduce evidence allegedly linking the defendant to the killing of a woman at Laulau Beach in 2006.
Attorney Janet H. King said the identity of the killer of bartender Emerita Romero will be the primary issue at trial and that the government’s case on this point is entirely circumstantial.
She said the government is attempting to identity Crisostomo as the culprit in Romero’s murder by proof of his being an alleged suspect in a different murder of a woman in 2006.
“In order to identify the defendant in this manner, it is not sufficient to show similar acts were committed in both deaths if the method used is not uncommon,” King said.
She said the circumstance the government wants to say mirrors the 2006 murder with that of Romero’s is that a rented sedan from Islander Rent-A-Car is allegedly involved.
“Even if it was true (as it is yet an allegation), this action of renting a car from Islander Rent-A-Car is not unique and thus cannot serve to identify anyone as the killer in either case,” King said.
The lawyer pointed out that simply categorizing Crisostomo as a suspect in a 2006 murder case—for which he is not even charged—“would be of little probative value in determining whether he committed the crimes charged in either case, and the prejudice would be great.”
Assistant attorney general James B. McAllister filed last week a notice of intent to introduce evidence at trial of Crisostomo’s other “crimes, wrongs, or acts.”
McAllister had disclosed that Crisostomo, who is facing charges in the kidnapping and murder of Romero, is also a suspect in the killing of Bao Ying Chen in November 2006.
McAllister disclosed details in court documents on how Bao was kidnapped and killed in a pattern similar to that of Romero: the use a rented car and via asphyxiation.
McAllister said that in the early morning hours of Nov. 23, 2006, after smoking crystal methamphetamine or “ice,” Crisostomo used a Toyota sedan rented from Islander Rent-A-Car to kidnap, rob, and murder Chen by strangling her.
The prosecutor said that Chen’s cell phone and other personal items were later seen in Crisostomo’s possession inside the rental car.
He said the defendant cleaned the interior of the vehicle and had his acquaintance return the car to Islander Rent-A-Car.
Two fishermen found Chen’s body along the shoreline of Laulau Beach in the afternoon of Nov. 23, 2006. An autopsy determined that she died of asphyxiation by drowning.
Romero’s body was found at the former La Fiesta Mall in San Roque on Feb. 7, 2012. An autopsy showed that she died as a result of asphyxia due to strangulation.