VIDEO: De Soto Trial: Aunt of Japanese Stabbing Victim Testifies

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Guam – In the DeSoto murder trial, emotional testimony from Shizuko Takeuchi. Takeuchi’s niece, Rie Sugiyama, was one of two Japanese women who was stabbed the night of February 12, 2013 in the Tumon Tragedy.  

Takeuchi remained stoic throughout most of her testimony but broke down into tears when she was asked to recount the horror she witnessed in the aftermath of the car crash and stabbing allegedly committed by Chad DeSoto.

Takeuchi says she and her family came to Guam for the wedding ceremony of her nephew who Rie Sugiyama’s brother. The family had just finished eating dinner at the Outrigger when some of them went down to the ABC Store to buy some gifts.

Takeuchi says as she was in line at the register, she saw a car crash into the ABC Store. In a panic, Take-uchi says she can’t remember the first few seconds after the crash, but she remembers seeing her sister, Yayoe Uehara, barely able to walk, and screaming that Rie had just been stabbed. Yayoe is the mother of Rie.

Take-uchi helped her sister to a bench, she recalls, when she looked in the other direction and saw Kazuko Uehara, the elderly Japanese woman several witnesses have previously identified, in a pool of blood. Next to the elderly lady, she says she saw medics performing CPR on another woman.

“Do you know whether that was a man or a woman?” Chief Prosecutor Phil Tydingco asked Takeuchi.

Bursting into tears, Take-uchi replied, “It was Rie Sugiyama.”  

Tydingco asked Takeuchi to explain how this incident has affected her.

“It’s very hard,” she said. “I am sure everyone understands how hard it is to lose a friend, but to lose Sugiyama Rie, who was always nice to the children was especially hard.”