Bullet matches gun found in Palacios house; defense says it’s planted

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Guam Police Department Officer John Tyquiengco (Media pool photo)

The bullet pulled out of Keith Castro’s body was matched to a gun discovered in the house where police apprehended shooting suspect Joshua Palacios. But the defense says its possible that the gun was planted.

Guam Police Department Officer John Tyquiengco examined the bullet pulled from the body of murder victim Kieth Castro. According to Officer Tyquiengco, impressions on the bullet was matched to one of two guns confiscated in the case.

Striations, or the series of ridges, furrows, or linear marks on the bullet, ruled out the .38 Smith and Wesson Revolver but not the 9-millimeter Tangfolio. Officer Tyquiengco found three striations matching the bullet to the weapon. GPD also dusted for fingerprints on the guns but none was found.

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The government’s line of questioning suggested that the fingerprints were wiped clean from the weapons, but defense attorney Thomas Fisher went in a different direction.

“Would a reason that a gun which had been handled showed no fingerprints could a possible reason be that the last person to touch it didn’t want their fingerprints on it,” Fisher asked.

Tyquiengco answered: “Yes.”

“If I was trying to hide from this gun it wouldn’t be smart for me to wipe it down and put it in the mattress I sleep in, correct?” Fisher asked. Tyquiengco answered: “Um, No.”

The gun was found under a mattress in the home Palacios was apprehended at.

Next to testify was arresting officer Pete Leon Guerrero, he recalled the statements made by Palacios.

According to the officer, Palacios met Thomas Taitano in jail and last saw Taitano at a game room a month before the shooting. Palacios claimed to not be able to recall his whereabouts the day Castro was murdered, further telling the police that he had not slept in five days as a result of smoking methamphetamine excessively. The officer also indicated that Palacios claimed not to know Castro. He said it was this statement that made him believe that Palacios was hiding information.

Following the testimony of Officer Leon Guerrero, the government rested its case. A motion to dismiss all charges against Palacios was denied by Judge Vernon Perez. As such, the case will now move forward with the witness testimony from the defense.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.