Judge Michael Bordallo says he wants to begin trial in late September or early October.
Guam – Former Police Officer Mark Torre Jr. may end up claiming to have suffered an alcohol-induced blackout or post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of the shooting of fellow officer Sgt. Elbert Piolo. This is based on a report from a forensic psychiatrist who evaluated Torre.
In court today, the prosecution revealed the content of a defense expert’s report that may be used in Torre’s upcoming murder trial. The report was produced by forensic psychiatrist Dr. Pablo Stewart.
“Dr. Stewart’s report essentially summarizes, indicating that he believes that at the time of the shooting, that the defendant suffered an alcohol-induced blackout as well as post-traumatic stress disorder,” Lead Prosecutor Phil Tydingco tells PNC.
While that may be what a defense expert concluded, it’s still not clear what kind of defense strategy Torre’s attorney, Jay Arriola, will use. Torre has served on several tours with the Guam Army National Guard. He’s facing charges of murder, aggravated assault and manslaughter.
“At the time, again, I’m just going by my memory, but the defense had listed a slew of defenses, everything from reasonable doubt, intoxication, duress, necessity, justification, self-defense,” says Tydingco.
The list of possible defenses has only been provided to the Attorney General’s Office so far. It has not been submitted to the court, but Judge Mihcael Bordallo said he wants that list narrowed down.
“If the defense is limited to either self-defense or toxicity, then it implies that there is an admission of shooting. If it’s a denial, we have to figure out what defenses are compatible and what aren’t so we can narrow again down what may be necessary and what may not. Maybe all the DNA for certain aspects may not be relevant, unless there’s a dispute again as to the experts on the, I guess, theory of how the actual shooting took place,” Judge Bordallo stated.
Tydingco says he plans to get a government expert to review Dr. Stewart’s psychiatric report.
“Certainly I want an objective assessment from that forensic psychiatrist as to the nature of the and the contents of Dr. Stewart’s report his own assessments, diagnosis and his methodology,” explains Tydingco.
Meanwhile, the defense is trying to get their hands on Police Officer John Edwards’ laptop, computer and hard drive that was used to upload and transfer files containing the body cam footage Edwards’ wore when he arrived on scene after the shooting.
“I understand Officer Edwards has may have filed his own objections toward subpoenas we issued to him. We subpoenaed his hard drive, his computer and his laptop,” says Arriola.
The defense is also planning to subpoena the internal affairs records of Officer Edwards and Sgt. Piolo. The prosecution is also planning to issue a subpoena of their own for the Veterans Affairs report that Dr. Stewart reviewed as part of his psychiatric evaluation.
“I indicated to the court that I wanted to issue a subpoena duces tecum for the VA reports because [Dr. Stewart] just referenced, saying, I reviewed the, he had reviewed the VA reports,” notes Tydingco.
Judge Bordallo says he’s looking to start trial in late September to early October. He’s ordered the parties to meet within the next two weeks to go over any outstanding issues before coming back to court for another hearing on July 8 at 9 am.