Nestor C. Taitano, a habitual offender accused of conspiring with his cousin to beat up and rob a 65-year-old masseur, was found not guilty of all charges yesterday.
After deliberating for less than an hour, the six jurors reached a unanimous verdict finding Taitano not guilty of robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Superior Court associate judge Joseph N. Camacho, who handled the misdemeanor charges, found Taitano not guilty of assault and battery and disturbing the peace. He said the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Taitano is guilty.
Taitano’s counsel, assistant public defender Matthew Meyer, said after the hearing that the government wasn’t able to show that his client had anything to do with this case.
Meyer said that Camacho supported the jury’s finding with his own verdict.
“So [Taitano] is a free man. And I wish the best for him,” Meyer said.
Assistant attorney general Eileen Wisor said they’re a little bit disappointed with the outcome but pointed out that Taitano has already served a year in jail as he has been in incarcerated since the incident on April 2, 2011.
Wisor said the strongest elements in the prosecution’s case was a witness who heard Taitano suggest to his co-defendant, Joshua Basaliso, that they go beat up the victim because they knew he had a lot of money.
“And then the co-defendant did in fact do just that. So there’s a direct evidence that he suggested it and circumstantial evidence that he heard him agreed to it and then did what he said,” the prosecutor said.
Assistant attorney general James McAllister assisted Wisor in the trial that began Monday.
Taitano has eight prior criminal convictions.
He and Basaliso were arrested in April 2011 for allegedly beating up and robbing Guoxi Liang of less than $100 outside his house in San Antonio. Liang, a Chinese national, sustained multiple injuries in the face and head.
Basaliso has already pleaded guilty to assault and battery as part of a plea deal. He has yet to be sentenced.