Mixed reactions to Mark Torre Jr. verdict

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Mark Torre Jr. was visibly happy with the verdict, embracing his attorney Jay Arriola, and finally able to put this behind him.

The not-guilty verdict in the Mark Torre Jr. trial Monday brought a flood of emotions from both sides of the courtroom.

After 11 days of witness testimony and four days of jury deliberations, the jury in the retrial of Mark Torre Jr. reached their verdict Monday.

Mark Torre Jr. was visibly happy with the verdict, embracing his attorney Jay Arriola, and finally able to put this behind him.

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The case has played out over the course of five years in the public’s eye  — a police officer accused of shooting another police officer making headlines way back in 2015.

In 2017, Mark Torre Jr. stood trial for the shooting death of Elbert Piolo, the verdict overturned by the Supreme Court and returned to the lower court for a new trial. Each step in the case brought forth varying levels of emotion within the community.

As protests were held by Piolo’s family, the community also expressed their thoughts through social media.

Following the most recent verdict, island residents once again took to social media. Some shared positive messages about the verdict returned while others were dismayed, stating justice was not served. But as Torre’s attorney Jay Arriola points out, this was not a court of public opinion.

“Those 12 jurors were the only people on this island who heard all the evidence, who heard all the law from the judge, and who deliberated long and hard and considered this case. This goes to show that the systems still works. We believe in the jury system. It’s not the most perfect but it’s certainly still the best. We believe in it and this is proof positive that the jury system works in Guam. And that people are still innocent until proven guilty. We certainly appreciate the time and the effort the jury put into this,” Arriola said.

The Piolo family disagrees, and unlike the joy the verdict brings Torre, Piolo’s mother was disgusted and in disbelief.

“It’s unbelievable! What kind of justice is this? They don’t know how to judge! Bert, we tried our best but I don’t know what kind of justice system here in. We don’t have justice,” she said.

The not-guilty verdict means the case will be expunged from Torre’s record. This also means that Torre is eligible for hire should he explore the option of rejoining the police force.

What lies ahead for Torre, however, remains to be seen. Torre is exploring his options and Arriola said he is eager to move forward with his life.

The $13,000 restitution case and wrongful death civil lawsuit involving Torre have both been settled.

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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.