Motion to acquit Taitingfong denied; govt and defense rest


A motion yesterday to acquit Jodan Santos Taitingfong was denied, with the judge saying there is no law that requires the victim to identify Taitingfong, who is accused of beating a woman during a robbery at her Micro Beach Hotel apartment in Garapan on July 7, 2016.
Defense counsel Rosemond Santos made the motion for acquittal. In denying the motion, Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio said there is no case law to support that the victim must identify the defendant.
The woman failed to identify Taitingfong, 24, in the courtroom during her testimony on Tuesday.
Kim-Tenorio said the video footage taken at Micro Beach Hotel showed that Taitingfong was with the alleged victim at that time and that there was no other person with them.
The judge said the government presented witnesses that identified the man in the video as Taitingfong.
Kim-Tenorio said the prosecution presented enough evidence for the jurors to decide as to the offenses of robbery and aggravated assault and battery.
The government rested its case yesterday after calling in its 15th and last witness.
The defense would not call any witness.
The government’s last witness, Anthony Taitingfong, identified the person who was with the alleged victim as his first cousin, Jodan Taitingfong.
Anthony Taitingfong said he was a dispatcher at the Department of Public Safety when detectives showed him the footage.
The prosecution played again the video in the courtroom and the witness identified the defendant as the man walking with the alleged victim.
Dr. Jeramy Scott Devey also testified yesterday how the alleged victim had severe injuries when taken to the Commonwealth Health Center in the early morning of July 7, 2016.
Devey said the alleged victim’s face was swollen and her mouth had wounds that required stitches. He said the alleged victim’s one front tooth was gone and two other teeth in the front were damaged.
The doctor said an X-ray and CT scan on the victim showed that she had a fracture in the left face but no brain injury.
The doctor said a radiologist, however, expressed possibility of a small amount of bleeding in the brain.
Devey said the alleged victim was stable when taken to CHC, which means that she was not in imminent danger at that time.
Devey said the alleged victim had a headache, dizziness, memory loss, and insomnia, among others—an indication she had concussion or brain injury.
The victim testified that she still has frequent headaches, finds it hard to sleep, and shows other symptoms.
Police detective Jeffrey I. Norita said that in an interview with Taitingfong on July 26, 2016, the defendant admitted being with the masseuse on the early morning of July 7, 2016.
Closing arguments will start today, Thursday, at 9am.
Assistant attorney general Teri Tenorio is prosecuting the case, assisted by assistant attorney general Jonathan Glass Jr.

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

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