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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Trial of Guam ex-convict facing gun charges begins

The jury trial of Jesus S. Palacios, an ex-convict in Guam who was indicted on Saipan for alleged possession of two guns and 27 bullets, began yesterday in federal court.

When Saipan Tribune left the courtroom in the afternoon, Tania Kapila, a fingerprint specialist with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was still on the witness stand.

Kapila testified as the U.S. government’s expert in the recovery of latent prints and fingerprint comparison.

Before Kapila, Howard H. Kong, a firearm and toolmark examiner with the ATF, testified for the U.S. government as an expert about the modified .22 caliber rifle.

Assistant U.S. attorneys Rami Badawy and Ross Naughton are prosecuting the case. Attorney Mark Scoggins is the court-appointed counsel for Palacios.

The indictment charged the 52-year-old Palacios with three counts of a felon in possession of firearm and/or ammunition and three counts of unlawful use of a controlled substance in possession of firearm and/or ammunition.

Police arrested Palacios in April 2013 for allegedly beating up his wife in front of their child and pointing a gun at her head.

Police said that Palacios was arrested in Guam in 1997 and charged with murder, manslaughter, and possession of a gun without an ID. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

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