Teen murder trial delayed after prosecutor falls ill

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Prosecutor Lenny Rapadas was eager to proceed with the trial this morning, but a medical issue prevented him from being available for opening statements.

The murder trial of Brandon Micheal Acosta  has been delayed after the lead prosecutor in the case, Lenny Rapadas, fell ill.

Acosta is accused in the 2018 rape and murder of 15 year old Timicca Nauta.

Opening arguments were scheduled to begin Thursday morning but Assistant Attorney General Sean Brown told presiding Judge Vern Perez that Rapadas “was eager to get started this morning but he had some medical issues” which prevented him from being available.

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“I’m asking for the court’s allowance of a one-day continuance, status hearing tomorrow, potentially a two-day continuance until Tuesday so we can fully get Mr. Rapadas back on track. He was the one prepared to do this trial,” Brown said.

Defense attorney William Pole did not object.

Brown said Rapadas was attempting to be seen by a doctor and that there is a possibility that the lead prosecutor would be available for trial Friday.

Superior Court Judge Vernon Perez allowed the continuance, stating that he understands that delays occur but it’s important that those delays are not significant.

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“Because jeopardy is attached, we selected a jury and this trial is going forward but it can not be lengthy and again, not too significant in terms of a delay. The interest for me is to make sure both sides are ready to go forward as well as they might because you’re adversaries at this point. Mr. Acosta is in his speedy trial mode,” the judge said.

Perez has ordered a status hearing for this morning to determine if trial will proceed this afternoon or if it will be delayed until Tuesday.

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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.