Court finds probable cause to try two men accused of robbery

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The Superior Court has found probable cause to try two men accused of robbing a woman in the village of San Antonio last week.

Superior Court Wesley Bogdan found probable cause to try Raymond Palacios and George Taitano Lieto Jr., two men accused of robbing a woman along Laigan Street in San Antonio.

During the preliminary hearing Thursday, Palacios, through his lawyer, Vincent Torres, made a verbal motion to dismiss all the charges against his client.

The lawyer argued that there was no sufficient evidence to try Palacios because there was no witness to his involvement in the actual robbery, nor did he give any statement to police about his involvement.

Torres noted in his argument that Palacios could have been unaware of the crime that his co-defendant, Lieto, had committed and could have just given him a ride.

However, Office of the Attorney General’s Steve Kessel argued that all of Torres’ arguments could be brought up in trial. The main purpose of the hearing, Kessel said, was to find probable cause to try the defendant.

After considering both party’s arguments, Bogdan found probable cause to try Palacios for the charges of robbery and conspiracy.

Meanwhile Lieto, the co-defendant in the case, waived his preliminary hearing.

Both Palacios and Lieto were ordered to return to court on Oct. 18 for an arraignment before Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto Naraja.

They were remanded back to the custody of the Department of Correction following their hearing.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, the female victim in the case told police last Wednesday that she was robbed of her brown Coach purse along Laigan Street.

The victim told police that the suspect, later allegedly identified as Lieto, fled the scene on foot after snatching her purse.

A witness told police that a dark-colored Mazda 3 sedan with the license plate AFM 561 later picked up an individual matching Lieto’s description.

A description of the vehicle and suspects were given to dispatch, who relayed the information to all units. Minutes later, police spotted the vehicle on the main road. Police conducted a violator stop and advised the two occupants to step out of the vehicle. Upon securing the driver, Palacios, and the backseat passenger, Lieto, officers saw a brown Coach purse described earlier inside the vehicle.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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