Guam Trial Of Suspected Murderer Draws International Media

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Proceedings begin for accused killer of 3 Japanese tourists

By Amanda Francel Blas

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, June 17, 2014) – Local and international media organizations gathered at the Superior Court of Guam as the trial of suspected killer Chad DeSoto began yesterday afternoon.

DeSoto is accused of killing three Japanese tourists and injuring close to a dozen others last year after allegedly driving his car into a crowd of pedestrians and crashing his vehicle into an ABC Store in Tumon.

DeSoto then exited his vehicle and allegedly began stabbing bystanders.

Because of the nature of the case and the involvement of foreign victims, the incident caught the attention of off-island media, particularly media from Japan.

Twenty foreign media individuals had requested access to DeSoto's court hearings.

Joshua Tenorio, the court's director of policy, planning and community relations, said the court is doing its best to adequately serve the media's needs.

While reporters are allowed in the court room during the trial, Tenorio said, the court is providing a video feed via PBS from the courtroom to media representatives at a media staging area.

The court also is ensuring media representatives are given necessary information to help guide them throughout the trial. The Pacific Daily News has been designated as the court's official pool photographer for the proceedings.

"We've really prepared fit hands to make sure that there's equitable access during the trial," Tenorio said.

Tenorio also noted the trial will remain accessible to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis.

"We put an unbelievable amount of planning into this to make sure everything goes smoothly," Tenorio said. "So far, we've been able to successfully address any concerns about the trial and its effect on court services."

While the trial caught the attention of numerous foreign media, the Guam Visitors Bureau continues to watch the trial closely.

"The Feb. 12 incident was an extremely rare and isolated case that we continue to be shocked over," said GVB General Manager Karl Pangelinan. "Guam has safely and securely hosted millions of visitors over the past several decades. Safety continues to be paramount."

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