Stabbing suspect allegedly admits attack on driver


A 24-year-old man accused of stabbing a taxi driver in As Lito allegedly admitted to the crime, saying he was in pain over the death of his sister.

Michael Salesy Ilo Gioda was taken before Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo last week for a bail hearing on charges of aggravated assault and battery, assault with a dangerous weapon, and disturbing the peace.

A $10,000 cash bail was imposed for Gioda’s temporary release. Preliminary hearing will be on Dec. 6 at 9am.

Police said the victim, a Chinese male, sustained two lacerations below the jaw, laceration on the left collarbone, a stab wound on the lower right chest, and minor cuts on the left ring finger. He was released after being treated at the Commonwealth Health Center.

Investigation showed that the victim received a phone call from a man at about 6:09pm last Monday, requesting to be picked up at the Saipan Mayor’s Office along Beach Road, Chalan Laulau.

The man, later identified as Gioda, sat behind in the left rear passenger of the victim’s car and asked to be dropped off in San Antonio. While en route, Gioda received a text message and told the victim to drive him instead to Hollywood Video in As Lito.

When the victim parked his car in front of Hollywood Video, Gioda allegedly began attacking him with a shiny metal object measuring about 3 inches long. The driver defended himself by fighting off the assailant. This resulted in Gioda getting down from the car and running away.

The following day, Tuesday, another police detective called a mobile cellular phone number which the victim claimed was the number the suspect had called him from. The detective then learned that Gioda was the person who called the victim’s phone that Monday night.

In an interview with police on Tuesday, Gioda confessed that he called for an illegal taxi to pick him up from the Saipan Mayor’s Office.

According to Gioda, he asked the driver to head to San Antonio, but then he changed his mind and told the driver to proceed to B&F Car Rental, which is located in the same building where Hollywood Video is.

Gioda stated that when they reached the parking lot of B&F Car Rental he just took out a pocketknife and stabbed the driver. After stabbing the driver, Gioda ran north and threw the knife into the jungle.

Assistant public defender Shoshanah Epstein was appointed as counsel for Gioda. Assistant attorney general Jonathan Wilberscheid appeared for the government at the hearing.

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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