Michael Jackson retrial starts; Roberto’s bench trial resumes


The retrial of Michael Anthony Jackson on charges of kidnapping and raping a then-15-year-old girl on Saipan started yesterday in the Superior Court.

As this developed, the bench trial of Andres B. Roberto, a man accused of sexually assaulting a girl on Saipan, resumed yesterday before Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja.

In Jackson’s retrial, the prosecution called to the witness stand Ferdinand Martin, who was then a security guard at Skyway Café and Poker in Dandan.

Martin said he was on duty at that time when a girl, who is the alleged victim in this case, came suddenly to their establishment between 3:30am to 4am on Oct. 9, 2010.

Martin said the girl, who was crying, went straight to their restroom. After 5 to 10 minutes, the girl went out so Martin asked her if she was okay. He said the girl did not reply and that he later saw her go inside a car.

The trial will resume today, Wednesday.

Assistant attorneys general Betsy Weintraub and Shannon Foley are prosecuting the case. Defense attorney Charles Reyes Jr. is court-appointed counsel for Jackson.

On April 26, 2013, the jury found Jackson guilty of kidnapping and sexual assault in the first degree. Camacho, who decided on the misdemeanor charge, also found the defendant guilty of assault.

On May 15, 2013, Camacho slapped the then-34-year-old Jackson with a maximum jail term of 40 years and six months without the possibility of parole.

Jackson appealed. He asked the CNMI High Court to reverse his convictions and remand the matter for a new trial, or in the alternative, for re-sentencing.

Last Dec. 30, the CNMI Supreme Court reversed the conviction and remanded Jackson’s case to the Superior Court for a new trial.

The justices ruled that the trial court erred in not repeating substantive jury instructions at the close of evidence.

Police said the girl had just come from an Internet café and was walking along Tun Joaquin Doi Road in Finasisu on her way home on Oct. 9, 2010, at about 1am when Jackson forced her into his car, brought her to an open field at the Saipan arport, and raped her inside his car. He then forced the girl to smoke methamphetamine or “ice.”

The girl later managed to run away, police said.

In Roberto’s case, the bench trial started last Aug. 22, but was postponed due to some legal issues. The trial resumed yesterday with the prosecution calling some more witnesses.

Defense attorney Joaquin Torres is counsel for Roberto.

Assistant attorney general Jonathan Robert Glass Jr. is prosecuting the case.

Roberto, 49, allegedly handed $60 for a fundraiser to the 14-year-old girl, then hugged her, kissed her on the mouth, squeezed her breast, and rubbed her butt in the back of a house in the evening of April 19, 2016.

The girl said she pushed Roberto away, threw the money back at him, and ran into the house.

Police said because of the incident, the girl was so traumatized that her mother once saw her in possession of a knife on her bed as she wanted to kill herself.

Roberto is on trial for sexual assault of a minor in the third degree, assault and battery, and disturbing the peace.

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

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.