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Sunday, April 20, 2014

UPDATE ON ROMERO MURDER CASE
Judge allows 2 FBI experts to testify via Skype

Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho granted yesterday the Office of the Attorney General’s request to allow two Federal Bureau of Investigation experts in Virginia to testify remotely via Skype in connection with the case against murder suspect Joseph A. Crisostomo.

FBI experts Linda M. Otterstatter and Lara D. Adams will testify during the Daubert hearing scheduled for Feb. 14, 2014, at 9am.

A Daubert hearing is a proceeding held before trial to determine whether a proposed expert meets the requirements.

Otterstatter is a physical scientist/forensic examiner, while Adams is a forensic examiner. Both work at the FBI laboratory division in Quantico, Virginia.

Camacho said the OAG has met all of the procedural requirements for requesting remote testimony and, since Crisostomo does not oppose remote testimony, it is unnecessary to require the two to travel between Virginia and Saipan more than once.

Crisostomo faces charges of kidnapping and killing bartender Emerita Romero, whose body was found in the former La Fiesta Mall in San Roque on Feb. 7, 2012. The jury trial will be on April 7, 2014.

Assistant attorney general Brian Flaherty filed on Dec. 2 a motion asking for a continuance of the Daubert hearing, presently scheduled for Feb. 14, to the time of trial so that Otterstatter and Adams will only have to travel to Saipan from Virginia and testify one time.

As an alternative, Flaherty asked for an order allowing the two witnesses to testify remotely via Skype on Feb. 14.

Flaherty said the government expects Otterstatter and Adams to testify on the tests they did on evidence recovered during the investigation of Romero’s death and their expert analysis of those test results.

The government intends to introduce at trial evidence of testing and analysis of hair and fiber and mitochondrial DNA evidence.

The prosecutor said the expense of flying Otterstatter and Adams from Virginia to Saipan and back is about $3,000 to $3,500.

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