Joseph Acosta Crisostomo, a habitual offender who is serving life imprisonment for kidnapping, raping, killing, and robbing bartender Emerita R. Romero, has brought up four issues in his appeal to the CNMI Supreme Court.
Crisostomo, through counsel Janet H. King, is appealing to reverse Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho’s judgment of conviction issued on April 28, 2014, sentencing order entered on May 28, 2014, and two-pretrial orders.
The pre-trial orders subject on Crisostomo’s appeal are Camacho’s order issued on Sept. 11, 2013, that denied defendant’s motion to change trial venue, and the judge’s order entered on Sept. 12, 2013 that denied defendant’s motion to suppress pretrial identification in which Joanne Castro identified the voice of Crisostomo, her former common-law husband for 17 years, on a 911 audio recording.
A check with the Supreme Court files yesterday showed that except for the notice of appeal, neither King nor the CNMI government has yet to file briefs.
Crisostomo, 41, is currently appealing two other sentences that he is serving in two criminal cases.
In Romero’s case, on April 24, 2014, a jury returned a guilty verdict against Crisostomo on the charges of first degree murder, kidnapping, sexual assault in the first degree, and robbery. Camacho found him guilty of assault and battery, and disturbing the peace.
Romero, 37, was last seen boarding into a car near her house in Garapan in the early morning of Feb. 5, 2012. Two days later, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents found her body in a small room at an abandoned La Fiesta Mall in San Roque/As Matuis. Autopsy showed she was beaten up and strangled to death with a pair of leggings.