Doubt grows in Moore trial

Doubt is growing as the days go by in the Nicholas Moore trial about whether Mr. Moore was the actual shooter, who caused a gunshot injury to Brian Mendiola’s leg the evening of October 15, 2020. His original co-defendant, Eric Salone, the man who was with him that night, has testified that both he and Moore shot different caliber guns in the direction of Mendiola, but that it was Moore’s gunshot that hit Mendiola.

(Author’s note: Danielle Baza contributed to this lengthy story)

The attorney general traded Mr. Salone’s testimony against Mr. Moore in exchange for Salone’s freedom in a plea agreement that guarantees the Navy sailor will not go to jail.

The prosecution’s entire case thus far has rested on Mr. Salone’s assertion that he shot a 45-caliber gun that night, while Mr. Moore shot a 38-caliber gun. The fragment of a 38-caliber bullet allegedly was pulled from Mr. Mendiola’s leg the day after the shooting, and belatedly turned over to the Guam Police Department as evidence a month later.

The problem the prosecution is having convincing the jury of Mr. Moore’s guilt is that Moore’s defense attorney, David Lujan, has spent days grilling Mr. Salone on the stand under cross examination. During that time, Mr. Lujan has revealed statements he made to investigators that directly contradict his story during trial, and other witness statements that indicate it was Salone who shot from the 38-caliber gun; a weapon the Guam Police Department has never been able to locate in the case.

Mr. Salone has been poised and respectful throughout his trial testimony. His composure during trial conflicted with several videos Mr. Lujan entered into evidence and showed the jury of a June 7, 2021 interrogation of Salone by Guam Police and Naval Criminal Investigation Services officers. It was in those videos, which were captioned, that the jury was able to see Mr. Salone telling investigators a completely different story from what he told the jury.

Those contradictions in Mr. Salone’s story emerged after days of Mr. Lujan impeaching Salone’s credibility on a range of other matters from his drug use to his motives for testifying against Mr. Moore.

The third set of prints on gun used to kill Michael Castro

The trial took a twist last week, and the jury was removed from the courtroom, after the defense team, prosecutors, and Judge Alberto Tolentino all discovered the prosecution failed to turn evidence over to the defense prior to the trial. The discovery was made as Mr. Lujan was questioning Mr. Salone about his statements to investigators on June 7, 2021, and Mr. Salone’s assertion that the interrogation continued for three more consecutive days.

That information, according to the defense, was not disclosed to the defense, and neither were any transcripts, reports, or video of the interrogation on those days. Specifically in question was a picture of a gun NCIS special agent Craig Perry showed to Mr. Salone during the June 7, 2021 interrogation that was not turned over to the defense until the day after Mr. Lujan stumbled upon the discovery misconduct finding.

After the jury left, prosecutors disclosed to the judge and the defense that the gun in question – a 45-caliber firearm – was the same gun used to kill Michael Castro some time on or after October 29, 2020. That was about two weeks after the shooting incident involving Brian Mendiola. Police do have that weapon in custody, and following their discovery of the weapon were able to pull three prints from it. Those prints, according to prosecutors, belong to Mr. Moore (who also faces murder charges in a separate trial that has not yet begun in that case), his co-defendant Troy Ryan Damian, and a third person, whose prints originally were not identified.

According to prosecutor Grant Olan in the Mendiola shooting case, that third set of prints belongs to Mr. Salone, which is part of the reason for the June 7, 2021 interrogation.

“Most of that, your honor, was about the Castro case,” Mr. Olan said of the interrogation of Mr. Salone.

Mr. Salone does not face charges in the murder case.

Here is a transcript of part of the Salone cross examination that already has taken place in the Moore trial, which underscores a belief (even Judge Tolentino expressed outside the presence of the jury), that significant doubt has been cast on the testimony of the prosecution’s key witness in the case:

LUJAN: Did you talk to her on the phone? 

SALONE: I did.

LUJAN: You said to us here that you told her that Nicholas was defending you guys. 

SALONE: Yes, sir. That’s the summary of what the conversation was.

LUJAN: Were you lying to her? 

SALONE: I lied to her.

LUJAN: All she wanted was to hear the truth. Why would you lie to her? 

SALONE: Because I covered for Nick.

LUJAN: You covered for Nick, or yourself? 

SALONE: I did both.

LUJAN: Have you ever heard of the frog and the scorpion? 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: One day there was frog at a stream about to hop across the stream, and just as that frog was about to hop a scorpion came and asked the frog to hitch a ride on the frog’s back. And the frog said, ‘No because, you know, you’re going to bite me and we’ll both drown.’  And the scorpion said, ‘No, I need to get to the other side so I won’t bite you.’  So the frog relented and let the scorpion. And midway through the stream the scorpion bit the frog’s neck. And as the frog was about to drown, the frog said, ‘But you promised.’  And the scorpion said, ’It’s in my nature.’  Isn’t it true that, so far, it is in your nature to lie? 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: And that it’s in your nature to use people? 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: Especially Nicholas Moore. 

SALONE: I did use Nick. Throughout our friendship, yes.

LUJAN: In other words, not only is it in your nature to lie, but you’re a user. 

SALONE: I wouldn’t say user, but he offered a lot of perks as a friend.

LUJAN: And you took advantage of this white boy’s generosity. 

SALONE: I wouldn’t say take advantage.  I would say enjoyed.

LUJAN: What’s the difference? 

SALONE: I believe taking advantage would have meant cruel intent.

LUJAN: Oh, so you had good intentions every time you took advantage? 

SALONE: I didn’t take advantage, he offered.

LUJAN: And when did you stop accepting Nick’s good offers?

SALONE: I would say when he fled the island, sir.

LUJAN: So, for two years or more you took advantage of this guy who was generous to you. 

SALONE: No, sir.  I wouldn’t say take advantage.  You just used that term. I just enjoyed how he was generous to me.

LUJAN: Did you consider Nick Moore stupid for being generous to you? 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: So, what did you consider him that make you grab and grab and grab everything he was giving to you. 

SALONE: Can you repeat that? 

LUJAN: No, I don’t want to repeat that. You heard it.  Did you talk to Mrs. Moore after October 16, 2020, after you lied to her? 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: And did you lie to her again? 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: You did not? 


LUJAN: Did you tell Mrs. Moore when you spoke to her after the text of October 16 that you shot a weapon? 

SALONE: Did I tell her, no.

LUJAN: Why not? 

SALONE: Because I covered for Nick and myself.

LUJAN: So, this one, you’re covering for yourself? It’s in your interest to lie. 

SALONE: Well, I was actually told to say this stuff, sir. By Nicholas Moore.

LUJAN: Do you have any proof of that? 

SALONE: No, I do not, sir.

LUJAN: And you’re the scorpion? 

SALONE: He was standing right in front of me, sir.

LUJAN: Now, sir, isn’t it true that Nicholas baby sat for your children at times? 

SALONE: Only once.

LUJAN: That you dropped your children at Nicholas’s house to be there while you go about your business. 

SALONE: Only once.

LUJAN: That he’s played with them. 

SALONE: I wouldn’t say that.

LUJAN: That he’s made food for them. 

SALONE: I wouldn’t say that either.

LUJAN: That you’ve eaten, all of you, at Nick’s house. 

SALONE: No sir.

LUJAN: That you’ve been on their boat. 

SALONE: Their family took my family on their boat.

LUJAN: How about you? 

SALONE: I was on Nick’s boat several times.

LUJAN: I believe you told agent Perry that, in fact you discussed with agent Perry, Nicholas always using his gas card to gas your car. 

SALONE: Yes, he offered to gas my truck.

LUJAN: What an honorable person who would accept a favor from a person he dislikes.

Would you agree that you and honorable are strangers to each other? 

SALONE: No, I wouldn’t agree with that.

LUJAN: Well, for two years after you continued to dislike him, you continued each time he offered to help you… 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: Do you feel guilty… 

SALONE: No, sir. 

LUJAN: Or embarrassed… 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: Did you laugh about this guy helping you? 

SALONE: No, sir. I appreciate it.

LUJAN: Isn’t it true that in your conversation with Mrs. Moore on the 16th, that she told you that people have contacted them about the events of October 15? 

SALONE: No, sir. That is not true.

LUJAN: And that people were contacting them for money? 

SALONE: No, sir.  That is not true.

LUJAN: Isn’t it true that you testified on direct exam in response to Mr. loans question about that? 

SALONE: I believe that Nicholas said people were contacting his family.

LUJAN: So Nicholas told you on October 16. 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: And you saw Nicholas first before you spoke to his mother on the 16th? 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: So you were aware then, that people had contacted Nicholas family some time on the 16th about the events on the 15th? 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: Are you aware, do you know the name Curtis Garrido? 

SALONE: I’ve learned it during this trial. Just this trial. I’ve heard it since the last two years.

LUJAN: So then you’re lying when you say you heard it only during this trial. 

SALONE: You had asked me if I know this person. I know who that is but I don’t know him personally.

LUJAN: In fact you testified you saw a guy while you were sitting on the bus stop on October 15. 

SALONE: I saw an individual.

LUJAN: And eventually you learned that’s Curtis. 

SALONE: Eventually, yes.

LUJAN: And are you aware that Curtis was present when you shot that 45? 

SALONE: Yes, I’m aware.

LUJAN: And are you aware that Curtis was one of those so-called four men that came to within 10 feet of you on that evening? 

SALONE: I’m aware he was within that area.

LUJAN: And are you aware that Curtis has been interviewed and had said, ’It’s the black man that did the shooting not the white boy.’ Are you aware? 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: Are you aware that Curtis, on a second interview said, ’It is the black guy that did the shooting, only the black guy shot.’ 

SALONE: I’m not aware but I’ve heard multiple people change their story.

LUJAN: Like you? 

SALONE: No, sir. I never changed my story.

LUJAN: And are you aware that Curtis, on a third interview continued to say, ‘Its the black guy that shot.’

SALONE: I’m unaware.  That Nicholas Moore did not shoot us. I’m unaware sir

LUJAN: So according to your testimony yesterday, these guys that came toward you, the pickup, they came within 10 feet of you?

SALONE:  I said there was an estimation and I wasn’t sure.

LUJAN: If his face was not there and his window was down and Curtis was 10 feet away, Curtis would have been in a position to see the shooter. 


LUJAN: And that the shooter was a black guy. 

SALONE: Negative. I did shoot a gun, but I did not shoot towards people.

LUJAN: You shot down? 


LUJAN: But, nonetheless, you shot. 

SALONE: I did.

LUJAN: But, of course you knew there’s a chance you could hit someone. 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: And so, would you agree because of the distance, Curtis would be in a position sir to see? 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: You were in a position to see. 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: You saw four people coming within 10 feet. 

SALONE: No, sir. I said I did not see them.

LUJAN: You saw the four men, right? 

SALONE: I saw the four men at approx. 50 feet of the driveway.

LUJAN: Two and a half months on June 8, 2022 you said that the approaching individuals were about 10 feet from their vehicle. Isn’t that correct?

SALONE: I said they could have been when the shot happened.

LUJAN: Isn’t it true you’ve seen this report by Mr. James? 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: Why don’t you look at it (investigators activity sheet peoples exhibit 38) laying foundation first

Isn’t it true you had a meeting with your lawyer and Mr. James and aag Sean brown on June 8 2022?

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: And that one of things discussed was that their case was to proceed to trial? 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: And that Mr. Brown asked you if you had any questions comments or recollections of the incident? 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: And that you provided statements that were consistent that were consistent with statements provided to GPD detectives on 6/7/21?

SALONE: I gave consistent statements.  Yes, sir.

LUJAN: That you indicated that on the night of the shooting you recall Mr. Moore had a silver .38 hand gun in his possession?

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: And that you further indicated there was another firearm on the case of the floorboard of the vehicle that you and Moore were in? 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: And that you indicated you have no idea what was going on but that Moore had driven to a residence in Agana Heights?

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: And that several unknown male individuals armed with machetes and pipes were approaching the vehicle you and Moore were in? 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: And that you further indicated that you were very scared while Mr. Moore was angry and yelling at the approaching people? 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: And then you indicated you picked up that firearm case, took the firearm out of the case, and held it because you were scared of the approaching individuals? 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: As the approaching individuals were about 10 feet away that Moore held out his silver .38 caliber next to your face and shot straight out the window toward the individuals?

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: That you further indicated that you then pointed the weapon out the window and toward the ground and pointed it at a downward direction? 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: That you further indicated that you faced your weapon downward because you didn’t want to shoot anybody. 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: That you indicated you were unsure whether they had hit anyone because it was dark. 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: That you indicated after the shots were fired that Moore immediately left the area. 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: So is that the total truth? 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: So we’re beyond dispute about the 10 feet. 

SALONE: It was about 10 feet.

LUJAN: So, are you aware that once at the time that Nicholas Moore was fired that 38 caliber, you claim, did you have the 45? Were you holding that 45?

SALONE: I was.

LUJAN: And so, are you aware that Curtis will testify that there was only one shot?

SALONE: I’m unaware.

LUJAN: Are you aware that he’s been interviewed and said that?

SALONE: I’m aware now, sir.

LUJAN: Are you aware that Curtis will testify that the minute there was a shot he ran into the bush?

SALONE: I’m unaware of any other testimony.

LUJAN: Why did you feel the need to fire the 45 if Moore fired the 38?

SALONE: Because I thought they were coming to attack us.

LUJAN: So, how many of the four people after the first shot were coming toward the vehicle?

SALONE: I don’t know that, sir.

LUJAN: So, of the four was Brian Mendiola, one of the four, coming toward the vehicle after the first gun shot. 

SALONE: I don’t know that, sir.

LUJAN: What about Curtis, was he one of the four coming toward the car after the first shot?

SALONE: I don’t know that, sir.

LUJAN: Since you were the only one there apart from Moore and the other two which is Curtis and Brian, what about the other two people you claimed were coming forward?

SALONE: I don’t know, sir.

LUJAN: But you were there and you saw four people. 

SALONE: But I hid, sir.

LUJAN: Did they disburse or did they keep coming? 

SALONE: I don’t know, sir. I shot and then we drove off.

LUJAN: So why did you feel the need to shoot after the first shot? 

SALONE: Because I don’t rely on Nicholas Moore to defend me.

LUJAN: So you’re not gonna rely on anyone to defend you. 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: So, if you feel the need to defend yourself why did you shoot toward the ground?

SALONE: I did not intend to shoot on anyone, sir.

LUJAN: But I thought you weren’t going to rely on anyone to defend you? When is the first time that you told this story to anyone? 

SALONE: Probably the day after sir.

LUJAN: Who’s the person, the day after, you told about this?

SALONE: I spoke to multiple people about it, sir.

LUJAN: Well you told us you met with Nicholas and Mrs Moore. So who are the multiple people you spoke to on the 16th?

SALONE: Javier Mercado. That’s one.

LUJAN: Javier said that you called and bragged, Javier was telling the truth? 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: But it’s true though, you called Javier on the 16th. 

SALONE: Yes, but I wasn’t bragging sir. I’d never brag.

LUJAN: So what did you tell him? That you shot? 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: And you shot with a 45? 

SALONE: I don’t think I got that far, sir.

LUJAN: In other words, you shot him.  You shot but you didn’t tell him what type of pistol or weapon you used. 

SALONE: That’s incorrect sir. I told him about Nicholas Moore.

LUJAN: Did you tell Javier that, ‘That crazy Nick shot someone last night.’ 


LUJAN: So, you told him about the shooting. That Nicholas was iced out, that he was being crazy, and getting worse.  But you never told him about what pistol you used? 

SALONE: I may have thrown that in there.

LUJAN: But you trust him, Javier? 

SALONE: I have no reason not to.

LUJAN: So if Javier comes in here and testifies that you told him a 38, should the jury believe him? Let’s say Javier comes in and says that, ‘Salone told me he’s the one that had the 38,’ do you believe this jury should believe him?


LUJAN: And why’s that, because he would be lying? 

SALONE: I don’t want to say he’s a liar. It’s an inaccurate statement.

LUJAN: But you’re aware he’s been interviewed and that he made this accusation. 

SALONE: There have been many accusations.

LUJAN: And you have absolutely no reason to feel that Javier dislikes you. 

SALONE: Well, there could be a reason but I’m not sure. 

LUJAN: I don’t know why he would not like you. Oh, so now, he’s not your really good friend. 

SALONE: He is my good friend, sir.

LUJAN: And you told us he’s a person who can be relied upon. But now that you’re aware that he accuses you of bragging about shooting a 38, do you believe that he’s still trustworthy? Very simple, yes or no.

(Salone looks upward, but does not answer the question)

Did you go to acting school? 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: You said that there was a reason why Javier may not be relied upon. 

SALONE: That he doesn’t like me.

LUJAN: Oh, so why do you think he may not like you and lie about your boasting? 

SALONE: Well, I didn’t say there was a reason for him to lie ever, well he had told me investigators told him I had said something about him. There was something last year when I ran into him. He had said investigators said something about him in another case.

LUJAN: Are you aware that Brian Mendiola, the person who was hit with the 38 bullet, is expected to testify that initially he said Nick Moore is the one that shot at him? 

SALONE: I’m unaware of what any other witness will testify to.

LUJAN: And are you aware that when he was reinterviewed some time in 2021, that he said he now knows he’s wrong, Nicholas Moore never shot at him? 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: And are you aware that in his interview he said the reason why he knows Nicholas Moore was not the shooter is because Nicholas Moore was holding the steering wheel with both hands right before there was a gun shot?

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: And are you aware that he said that the person who was in the best position to see the shooter was Curtis because Curtis was, I believe, to his right and was facing the passenger in that pickup? 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: So are you aware that Brian has repeated the same story each time he’s been interviewed by police officers?

SALONE: I believe that’s inaccurate, sir.

LUJAN: So has Brian said or recanted his second story that he was wrong the first time about Nicholas Moore being the shooter? 

SALONE: I believe there have been several times that other witnesses have changed what they said.

LUJAN: Like you? 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: Have you heard Brian say he’s wrong about what he said in the second interview, that Nicholas Moore wasn’t the shooter?

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: Are you aware that one of the witnesses that will come in here who was present that night of the shooting is a lady named Myah Delgado? 

SALONE: I’m unaware.

LUJAN: And are you aware that she is Brian’s girlfriend?

SALONE: I’m unaware.

LUJAN: And that are you aware that she claims it was her, Brian, and Curtis together when you shot that 45? 

SALONE: I’m unaware.

LUJAN: And are you aware that she will testify that there were no four men that night? 

SALONE: I’m unaware of what any other witness will say.

LUJAN: Or that anyone was holding machetes?

SALONE: I’m unaware.

LUJAN: Or pipes. 

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: Isn’t it true that in your interview by Perry about your drug dealings? 

SALONE: Not that I recall, sir.

LUJAN: Isn’t it true, sir, that he interviewed you in 2021?

SALONE: No, sir.

LUJAN: When did he interview you? 

SALONE: In 2021, sir.

LUJAN: And you were interviewed about drug dealings? 

SALONE: I was interviewed about multiple things.

LUJAN: And one of them had to do with your drug use? 

SALONE: I believe it came up.

LUJAN: Is it yes or no? 

SALONE: As I recall, I believe it came up, sir.

LUJAN: And one of the things that you and he discussed had to do with whether you had seen Nicholas shoot a gun, right? 

SALONE: Yes sir, that came up.

LUJAN: And initially you said no. I believe initially, you said no.

SALONE: I believe initially, in the beginning of that interview, I was reluctant to speak much. I had said no, then later on in the interview…

LUJAN: So you did say no. 

SALONE: No sir, I went on to explain the events.

LUJAN: Later? 

SALONE: Well, we were interviewed on other topics, then we went back to it.

LUJAN: So you were asked whether you had seen Nicholas shoot a gun and your initial response was no, am I correct? Calls for yes or no. 

SALONE: I don’t know what that question was about sir, but that answer was appropriate for that question.

LUJAN: And the other thing he asked you was about your drug use. 

SALONE: I believe that topic came up.

LUJAN: And he discussed with you your source. 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: And your source was not Nicholas Moore. 

SALONE: No, that’s not correct, sir.

LUJAN: So are you saying that you’ve never discussed with special agent Perry a source of drugs different from Moore? 

SALONE: Not that I can recall.

LUJAN: So in other words, you’re not saying no. You’re just trying to slide by saying you do not recall? 

SALONE: No sir, that was a lengthy interview. Not that I recall is the best answer I can give.

LUJAN: Isn’t it true that he said to you that officers have been conducting surveillance on you? 

SALONE: Yes, that is true.

LUJAN: And that the officers were watching you. 

SALONE: Yes, I was told.

LUJAN: And that they did control buys on you. 

SALONE: I believe they said that.

LUJAN: And that the person you were buying drugs from was not Nicholas Moore. 

SALONE: I don’t think that the police would tell me who their control buy was.

LUJAN: But you admitted that you were purchasing drugs for at least over 2 years during your interview of June 2021. 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: And isn’t it true that when it comes to drugs, your source of drugs that you’re lying that Nicholas Moore is your only source of getting drugs?

SALONE: I didn’t say that Nicholas Moore was my only source.

LUJAN: Ok, so he’s one of your source.. and he gave you drugs for free. Sometimes? He’s your source of generosity. Who’s your other source? 

SALONE: It’s who Nicholas said to go to.

LUJAN: So tell us the name.

SALONE: I don’t recall their names.

LUJAN: So Nicholas tells you to go to a person and get drugs? 

SALONE: Yes, sir.

LUJAN: Man or woman? 

SALONE: I believe I met a woman once.

LUJAN: Okay, what’s her name? 

SALONE: I don’t know her name.

LUJAN: Describe this woman. Age. Give us the best estimate. Height. Where she works. 

SALONE: I wouldn’t know where she works.

LUJAN: Okay so tell us something about this woman. 

SALONE: I know that they were at a hotel near the airport.

LUJAN: Describe the woman. Is she white or black or brown. 

SALONE: I would say local.

LUJAN: And she’s up there at that hotel near the airport. 

SALONE: I think she was staying there.

Kandit will publish more information in subsequent stories.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *