Judge drops two charges against Tenorio

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Guam – Two of the four charges against former Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio have been dropped due to a lack of supporting evidence.

As the prosecution rested its case, Tenorio’s attorney Tom Fisher moved for his client’s acquittal.

“To the first charge of reckless conduct,” Fisher said, “it says that he engaged in conduct that  unjustifiably placed or may have placed another, Sgt. Cruz or other member of GPD in danger of death or serious bodily injury.”

Fisher told the court that “there has been no indication of that. In fact the evidence according to Cruz was [that] he was holding the gun from lower receiver and if it did discharge it. The projectile would not have hit set Cruz or anyone else, if it is aimed at the ground.”

Fisher noted that  Tim Certeza, the person who actually observed the incident is no longer with GPD. “He stated what he saw was the quick draw of the gun and it being held up by thumb and forefinger. Sgt Cruz took it back,” Fisher said.

The second charge involved an allegation that Tenorio “intentionally pointed a firearm.”

However, Fisher said, “witness after witness, police officers and they all said the gun was not pointed at them.”

Fisher noted that an officer, who testified, didn’t say that it happened at all, so there is “no evidence of pointing gun.”

Third charge is obstruction of government function, which Fisher said showed no evidence at al. Instead, he added, there was evidence that he was actually on break.

“What he was attempting to do was rectify a dangerous official misconduct. No evidence of attempt to harm another, no benefit, no intent that he intended to harm. The evidence was just the opposite. The intent is not there. Neither is the evidence,” Fisher said in seeking an entry of acquittal.

Superior Court Judge Benjamin Sison granted in part the defense’s motion for acquittal. He granted the defense’s motion of acquittal on the official misconduct charge. “As to the other two charges, I will let them stand at this time,” the judge said.

Tenorio is not off the hook. He is still facing one count of reckless conduct and one count of obstructing government functions. With these charges still pending, the jury will continue to weigh evidence.

Before resting its case, the government presented evidence collected from local media reports following the July 7, 2018 incident.

Called to the witness stand was former PNC assistant news director Jeff Marshessault, who interviewed Tenorio days after the gun grabbing incident.

During the interview, Tenorio said, “I regret what happened immediately gave it back from him after removing. It was a teachable moment for sure…lifted it out of the holster and gave it back to him.”

He maintained he was not intoxicated, but admitted an “error in judgement on my part. .. I was not intoxicated and it was a safety concern for me. My intention is safety of officers. I could tell you, that I regret.”

During his media interviews, Tenorio said he took full responsibility for his actions and acknowledged that he was not above the law.

At the trial, the defense appeared focused on perceived political affiliations.

“At the time you had conducted this interview you were with PNC…Do you know who know owns PNC?” Fisher asked Marschessault, in an apparent attempt to demonstrate a bias in the PNC report.

The incident took place prior to the gubernatorial election, in which Tenorio and Lou Leon Guerrero— whose family owns the bank— were vying for the Adeup post.

This apparent attempt at establishing the notion of bias, was quickly diverted as Marshessault testified that the lieutenant governor was willing to be interviewed.

Closing arguments are anticipated tomorrow.

(Full disclosure: The Bank of Guam is a shareholder of the Sorensen Media Group, the parent company of the Pacific News Center.)

 

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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.