DeSoto sentenced: three life sentences without parole
by Krystal Paco
Guam - It was one year and seven months ago Chad DeSoto rampaged through Tumon leaving three Japanese tourists dead and injuring eleven others.
Despite his insanity plea, after two weeks in deliberations it was back in August a superior court jury found DeSoto guilty on all three counts of aggravated murder and eleven counts of attempted aggravated murder all as first degree felonies with special allegations for possession and use of a deadly weapon.
Fast forward to today, DeSoto is sentenced to three lifetimes behind bars to be served concurrently without the possibility of parole.
"I have not lied to you my fellow humans," said DeSoto. "My actions were not the result of a pre meditated 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."
It was on this night DeSoto drove his car down a crowded Tumon sidewalk, crashed his car into the ABC Store, darted out of the car, and stabbed people at random.
"I assume the verdict of the jury in my trial as a collective decision of the people of Guam. I understand the resentment my community has against me. The events that my mental illness caused were terrible and tragic and I do not deny that but do not mistake the lack of tears on my face as a lack of sadness I have mourned just as much as any other person I have cried for 634-days on the inside and out," he said.
As he addressed the people of Guam today, he continued to blame his violent actions on what he claims is mental illness, specifically schizophrenia and psychotic depression.
"These humans are held captive against their will. The unlucky prisoners of their own minds. And as I have now come to grasp what these people have always gone through since I contracted my mental illness almost two years ago, I've come to understand what they have known all along - the hardest prison to escape is in your mind," he said.
The court also heard statements provided by DeSoto's mother, father, and girlfriend. All three requested the court grant the defendant mercy and forgiveness and provide him the mental help he so desperately needs.
Despite a stone cold face throughout his trial, today DeSoto was full of expression, his eyes filled with tears as he listened to the words from his loved ones.
But it wasn't only the defense getting emotional as the court also heard from the victim's families, including Masao Uehara, the father-in-law of the late Rie Sugiyama.
"In Japan this would be a death sentence. I'm very sorry this is not Japan and that the punishment is not available here," said Uehara.
Considering the pre-sentence investigation, Judge Sukola handed down three life sentences to be served concurrently without the possibility of parole in addition to fifteen years for each count of attempted aggravated murder and twenty five years for each special allegation for possession and use of a deadly weapon.
"The court notes that you did not seem remorseful when you had an opportunity to discuss your concerns with the probation officer the court also notes that in your own statements that your remorsefulness didn't come out. You were more concentrated on the mental illness and your family," she said.
Although the prosecution believed the maximum sentence would equate to fourteen life sentences, Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas expressed satisfaction with today's judgment.
"We asked for the maximum however we didn't get the consecutive sentencing we wanted but it does send a strong message that we will do what we can. He was expressing his mental disease but we did what we could to disprove that. I believe justice was served in this," he said.
A restitution hearing for DeSoto is scheduled for November 19.
On Friday, the court will address contempt of court charges against DeSoto's cousin Michelle Fatovich and his girlfriend Reanne Acasio.
Prison phone records show the two spoke with DeSoto even though they were ordered by the court not to do so.