Witnesses walk away, despite contempt of court charges - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Witnesses walk away, despite contempt of court charges

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 by Krystal Paco

Guam - Chad DeSoto may be locked up for the rest of his life convicted for the tragedy in Tumon last year, but will his loved ones serve jail time too?

The DeSoto trial may be over but the court addresses charges against DeSoto's cousin and girlfriend following a discovery of prison phone records showing the two failed to take the judge's orders seriously.

No jail time. No fines. And no community service. This from Judge Anita Sukola this morning who showed mercy on Michelle Fatovic and Reanne Acasio. Both women appeared before Sukola this morning for contempt of court charges.

Department of Corrections phone records showed the two communicated with defendant Chad DeSoto despite court orders not to do so because both served as witnesses in the DeSoto trial over the summer months.

"You are lucky. I could've locked you up. But because of the reasons that I so noted and because of your willingness to make this admission and take responsibility for it the court is going to waive the sixty days," she said.

Fatovic, who is first cousins with DeSoto and Acasio, who is currently in a dating relationship with DeSoto, showed the court remorse, lending to Sukola's leniency.

"I would personally just like to apologize. It was not my intention to disobey you in any way or to jeopardize the case in any capacity," she said. "I would also like to personally apologize. I also had no intention of jeopardizing the case. Its just been really hard since this trial has kept me away from my family and friends and pretty much Chad is the only one giving me emotional support through it all and I'm very sorry."

In addition, the court considered other factors in today's order.

Attorney John Terlaje who represents Fatovic and Acasio stated today that DeSoto initiated all of the phone calls.

"Even upon reviewing the tape, every single one of them all mention to Chad 'we're not supposed to talk about the case.' The majority of the conversations were pretty of personal nature as opposed to discussing the facts or the nature of the trial," he said. "They understood not to talk about the case. If they misunderstood not to talk to Chad at all, that was their mistake. There was no intent to sway their testimony in any way or come up with different facts that weren't stated already."

Prosecution also agreed with today's ruling. Chief Deputy Attorney General Phil Tydingco said, "These weren't strangers called as witnesses and violated the court order. These are people who had strong emotional bonds to the defendant so we wanted to at least point that out."

Penalties for contempt of court charges include up to sixty days behind bars, a $500 fine, or both. Sukola acknowledged that Fatovic is a Guam resident and single mother for her four children while Acasio, who no longer resides in Guam, is only a teenager with plans to attend college in the states.

Although the two walk away scot-free, one more witness in the DeSoto trial also faces contempt of court charges.

DeSoto's mother, Rae is set to appear on November 18th. 
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