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Chad Desoto appealing guilty ruling

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 It was one of the most shocking stories of 2013 - three tourists killed and 11 others injured in the tragedy in Tumon after Chad Desoto drove his car down a crowded sidewalk, darted out of his car, and stabbed people at random. Although he was found guilty of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder, Desoto has taken the case upstairs to the Supreme Court of Guam for appeal.    

"There is an appeal filed in this matter filed by the alternate public defender on behalf of Mr. Desoto and that was filed in March 3," explained Judge Anita Sukola. This was the first time the judge had heard of the appeal. Had she known prior, she wouldn't have scheduled a restitution hearing on the matter today.

Public defender Jocelyn Roden, who represents Desoto, said, "Our position remains the same your honor. Until the appeal is done, I do not believe that a restitution hearing is appropriate."  And the court agreed, with Sukola saying, "Ms. Rhoden is correct. Desoto's matter is up for appeal. The issue of restitution though can be heard."

According to KUAM News files, only four of Desoto's 14 victims are seeking restitution totaling close to $14,000 to cover medical, travel, and funeral expenses. The remaining victims didn't respond or didn't request any restitution. Those who did, however, will have to wait.

"When we come back from that appeal one way or the other we'll see what we have to do to resolve the issue of restitution," said the judge.

Desoto pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness. after over a month in trial and another two weeks in deliberations, the 12-panel jury returned with a guilty verdict and he was sentenced to three lifetimes behind bars. during his sentencing, Desoto continued to blame his mental illness for what he did.  He said in trial last September, "I have not lied to you my fellow humans. My actions were not the result of a premeditated murderous monster who has no love within his soul. But that of a tiny, meek, withered and scared young man writhing in psychological pain and paranoia."

According to the Alternate Public Defender's Office, Attorney Stephen Hattori will be representing Desoto in the appeal. As for the March 3 filing, the Supreme Court of Guam confirms the notice of appeal was in fact submitted in 2014 and that the most recent filing is relative to an order granting the appellant additional time to submit their brief which is now due on or before May 8.

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