Court grants DeSoto defense's motion for expert - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Court grants DeSoto defense's motion for expert

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - It will be a couple more months before a trial date is set for Chad DeSoto, as the Superior Court of Guam has granted the defense's motion for an expert and ordered that a second psychological evaluation be conducted.

DeSoto walked into Superior Court Judge Anita Sukola's courtroom today, acknowledging and waving to his family and friends who were in attendance at the hearing. He sat without shackles around his wrists next to his attorney, Public Defender Eric Miller, and held his head up as he listened to the judge. The defense has been waiting on Sukola to issue a decision on their motion for the appointment of a defense expert.

DeSoto has been behind bars since going on a rampage in Tumon back in February when he injured numerous pedestrians and killed three Japanese tourists. DeSoto drove on the sidewalk hitting pedestrians along the way and then got out of the vehicle and began randomly stabbing people nearby. He pleaded not guilty to the charges by reason of mental illness, disease or defect and the court had ordered a psychological evaluation that was conducted by Dr. Michael Kim.

But the results of that evaluation have been kept private as they were filed under seal.

The court today granted the defense motion and said an expert would be arranged by the Court Services Division. The court will also order that the defense expert not only assess the methodology, basis and result of the evaluation but to effectively represent the defendant in determining the direction and course of the defense but to conduct a second psychological evaluation altogether," her honor said.

The government opposed the appointment of a defense expert but the judge's ruling today set the wheels in motion for DeSoto to undergo another review, something the defense says was already done. Miller stated, "In anticipation of a ruling in our favor, we had an opportunity to meet with Dr. Martin (Lindbergh), who happened to be on island in the last month or so, and we obtained his services and we have a second opinion at this point."

Judge Sukola said the Public Defender's Office would have to pay for that evaluation as the court would not entertain it. "The public defender does not have the right to go and pick its own expert witnesses notably one that you said that was on island, I'm sorry. This is pursuant to the decision and order that I'll be issuing shortly."

The judge meanwhile also granted the defense's motion for a certified copy of grand jury transcripts.

The court expects to have the second court ordered psych evaluation turned in before the next criminal trial setting which is scheduled for October 2. 

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