Mistrial possible in machete attack case?

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Emmanuel Reselap (right) and Jordan Rachulap were found guilty of most of the charges in the machete attack case.( PNC photo)

Is it possible for a mistrial to be declared in the case involving the machete attacks in Mangilao? The jury may have come to a verdict but it appears that the case is still up in the air.

The jury came to a verdict on Sept. 6, but it appears that the defense will be requesting for a mistrial or a judgment of acquittal for Emmanuel Reselap and Jordan Rachulap.

Reselap was found guilty of aggravated assault, 2 counts of terrorizing and 2 counts of criminal mischief all with the special allegations attached as well as family violence as a misdemeanor. He was found not guilty of attempted murder, but the jury could not come to a decision on the aggravated assault as a second degree felony charge leaving the jury deadlocked.

Atty. Shawn Brown from the Office of Attorney General said there is already going to be a hung jury-mistrial for one charge based on the one they didn’t come back with a verdict on.

“So that’s already kind of a mistrial on that one charge. They are asking for a mistrial on the other charges and we are going to brief that in writing. I don’t know what their premise is for their motion yet because I have’t seen the briefs. But I expect to be successful in defending that,” Brown said.

While prosecutor Shawn Brown is confident in his ability to defend the case, it appears that an issue with the jury has left the case in limbo.

Gloria Rudolph, one of the defense attorneys, said they are going to file motions for both defendants. And what motions will she be filing?

“Well, usually acquittal, potentially mistrial … we are still researching it,” she said.

Rudolph represents Jordan Rachulap who was convicted of two counts of criminal mischief and two counts of terrorizing both with a special allegation.

But prosecutor Brown said Rachulap may be jumping on the band wagon.

“This case is done for now. He will be sentenced based on what has already happened. So Ms. Rudolph’s motions will be basically applying what happened to Emmanuel’s case to her client’s,” Brown said.

But what prompted the possibility of a mistrial?

Defense lawyer Samuel Teker said there was an issue with the jury that they would be exploring.

The issue at hand is whether or not the jury followed the instructions of the judge. What does this mean for the convictions that were handed down last Friday?

“It doesn’t really affect the case. I’ll tell you this, there was a hung jury on one charge. So Mr. Brown has some options about what he wants to do because there is a hung jury. There might be a mistrial of the whole thing but I am not too sure of what we are going to do. Yeah, that one’s a hard one to answer,” Teker said.

As for the sentencing which is set for December or January, all attorneys were in agreement that if the judge grants the motions there will be a new trial and no sentencing.

Although the case may be in limbo, Superior Court Judge Vernon Perez has ordered a pre-sentence investigation report to be conducted in preparation for sentencing.

Sentencing will be contingent on how Judge Perez rules on the motions.The motion hearing is set for Sept. 19.

Meanwhile, today’s hearing for Reselap was not necessary as he waived his right, basically admitting that he was on felony release for another crime when he was convicted in this case. Teker says this will add 5 to 20 years to his sentencing in this case.

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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.