‘Extent of victim’s memory loss turned up during testimony’


Assistant attorney general Teri Tenorio uses her phone as assistant attorney general Jonathan Glass Jr. listens during a short break in the trial of Jodan Santos Taitingfong in this file photo taken last Wednesday. Tenorio revealed that she became aware of the extent of the victim’s memory loss only when she was testifying on the stand about her injuries, and had to call the doctor, who was the treating physician and the government’s expert. (Ferdie de la Torre)

The lead prosecutor in the case against a man found guilty of beating and robbing a woman became aware of the extent of the victim’s memory loss when she was on the stand, testifying about her injuries.

Shortly after the guilty verdict was rendered against Jodan Santos Taitingfong on Friday, assistant attorney general Teri Tenorio said the extent of the victim’s injuries had not been brought to their attention until when the victim was actually testifying on the stand.

“I assumed that it was the communication barrier when I interviewed this victim on several different occasions,” she said.

Tenorio said she was initially unaware of the extent of the victim’s memory loss and cognitive impairment that she had suffered. It was only after the victim spoke on the stand that Tenorio talked to a medical expert—the victim’s treating physician—based on what Tenorio heard from the victim’s testimony and based on the examination conducted on her.

Most importantly and significantly, Tenorio said, the victim is experiencing headaches almost every day.

“And you saw her testifying in court. She clearly did not even understand or comprehend some of the questions,” Tenorio said.

This prompted her to contact Dr. Jeramy Scott Devey of the Commonwealth Health Center and asked him about this. Tenorio said that Devey asked for the victim to go to the Commonwealth Health Center and get another exam.

That information was excluded from the jury, according to Tenorio, adding that the jurors were not aware of that additional information they learned.

Tenorio said Devey even went back to the hospital on his own time to follow up with the victim.

The victim testified on Tuesday how she was hit on the head and robbed inside her room on the third floor of Micro Beach Hotel in the early morning of July 7, 2017.

The victim, however, could not identify Taitingfong in the courtroom. Her testimony had some inconsistencies.

The prosecution asked for a short recess in the middle of the victim’s testimony.

Tenorio and Glass were then seen holding a discussion outside the courtroom. After several minutes, the victim later resumed her testimony.

Taitingfong, 24, was later found guilty of robbery and aggravated assault and battery. His sentencing will be on Dec. 5, 2017.

Assistant attorney general Jonathan Glass Jr., who assisted Tenorio in the case, said that Tenorio did a wonderful job. He thanked the staff of the Office of the Attorney General for “all the hard work that they did as well.”

“It takes a team to do all of these. Everybody chipped in and this is for the community,” he said.

Glass said this is not only about justice for the victim but also about keeping the community safe.

“And justice was served today,” Glass said Thursday.

The treating physician, Devey, had testified on Wednesday how the victim had severe injuries when taken to CHC in the early morning of July 7, 2016.

Devey said the victim’s face was swollen and her mouth had wounds that required stitches. He said the victim’s one front tooth was gone and two other teeth in the front were damaged.

Devey said if the victim has a headache for a year after the incident and having dizziness, memory loss, and insomnia, among other symptoms, it is an indication that she has concussion or brain injury.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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