Jury deliberating Sked’s fate

Twelve jurors are deciding whether Joyner Sked should be a free woman following closing arguments in her murder trial.  The Office of the Attorney General of Guam is trying Ms. Sked and her boyfriend, Rudy Quinata, separately for the murder of the former Umatac mayor Daniel Sanchez.  Prosecutor Leonardo Rapadas made his case first, followed by Ms. Sked’s attorney Terrence Timblin.

Mr. Rapadas described the murder victim as a good mayor who was well-liked and retired to spend more time with his family.  The jury listened as Rapadas went over the events leading up to the murder.  Recalling testimony from Quinata’s neighbor George Aguon, Rapadas said Sked liked to party and flirted with other men, which caused many arguments between the couple.  Rapadas pointed out that Sanchez’s niece Macrina Sanchez saw Sked flirting with her uncle in the presence of her other uncle, Rudy Quinata.  Ms. Sanchez was the last person to see her Sanchez alive, in the company of Sked and Quinata.

When the body was discovered three days later, Rapadas said there were no fingerprints found on the murder weapons but there was a small amount of blood found on Sked’s shirt.  Pounding on the podium 23 times for effect, Mr. Rapadas asked, “Did she stop at one, two, three?  No, she kept on going,” referring to the 23 stab wounds Sanchez had suffered.  Mr. Rapadas did not offer any possible motive for Ms. Sked to murder Mr. Sanchez, nor did he present any eyewitness to the actual murder.

Mr. Timblin, in his closing arguments, said, “This case brings to mind a rather famous quote from a Shakespeare play entitled ‘Macbeth,’ in which the protagonist laments when things are not going his way that there’s nothing more than sound and fury signifying nothing.  That’s what you basically heard in this trial.  A lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.”  Mr. Timblin likened the quote to the circumstances of the trial and told the jury the government has no case against his client.

“Keep in mind, while you deliberate, first is the burden of proof,” Mr. Timblin advised the jury.  Sked’s attorney told the jury that the burden of proof never shifts to Sked but remains with the government.  The government must provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt, that Sked is guilty.

“Rapadas told the story of what happened but wasn’t there,” Mr. Timblin said, adding there was no reason for Sked to kill Daniel Sanchez.  If Sked had stabbed Sanchez 23 times, fingerprints would have shown up.  Timblin reminded the jury that Sked never told her cellmate Sirena Yamasta that she killed Sanchez.  There were no witnesses and no circumstantial evidence to find his client guilty.

Kandit asked both Mr. Rapadas and Mr. Timblin if they would comment on the case but only Mr. Timblin obliged.  When asked if he thought the jury was receptive to his closing argument and how he feels so far, Timblin said, “I like the way the jury seems to have been very attentive.  Not much you can say.  They did, I think, a good job of paying attention and how it turns out of course, is up to them.  It’s just guess work beyond that but we got a pretty good jury.”

Judge Vernon Perez gave the jury the case to deliberate shortly after 12:30 p.m. Monday.  Judiciary of Guam spokesman Michael Kilayko confirmed the jury had not reached a verdict by the end of the day.  Jury deliberations will continue Tuesday morning.

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