Terlaje pleads not guilty; released on PR bond

Joey Terlaje today pleaded not guilty to every charge of his corruption indictment.  The arraignment for the former Superior Court of Guam deputy Marshal and Leon Guerrero cabinet officer took place at the Superior Court today.  Terlaje was expected to be present at the hearing in front of Judge Jonathan Quan, but was experiencing flu-like symptoms.  The court allowed him to attend via Zoom from his attorney’s office, Arriola Law Firm.

Terlaje was indicted on two counts of official misconduct and on one count of unlawful restraint.  The charges stem from the implication in federal court by ex-mayor Jesse Blas’s ex-girlfriend, Vickilyn Teregeyo, that Terlaje was involved in her kidnapping, illegal detention, and physical abuse by Blas.

Ms. Manglona said Terlaje helped to hold her down and assault her following a party at Blas’s home in 2019.  Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent Rafael Fernandez testified twice in Mr. Blas’s federal trial that Joey Terlaje was connected to a cabal of corrupt law enforcement officers under federal investigation.  Mr. Fernandez testified under cross examination by Blas’s attorney that Joey Terlaje was at a barbecue at Blas’s home, when Blas dragged and abducted his then-girlfriend Vickilyn Teregeyo into a room in his home, beat her, and kept her locked up for three days.  Ms. Manglona, who has since relocated, said Joey Terlaje helped Blas in the abduction, and in holding her down while Blas beat her.  It was her testimony to the FBI and recorded phone conversations with Blas that led to the mayor’s downfall, and new evidence against Joey Terlaje involving his alleged role in police corruption.

At the arraignment, prosecutor Leonardo Rapadas requested Terlaje stay away from the alleged victim, Ms. Teregeyo.  Being that Terlaje is well-connected to the law-enforcement community, Mr. Rapadas also asked that he stay away from the Superior Court marshals division and the probation office, except for his probation officer, given the officer is not connected to the case or will not be a potential witness in the case.

“We enter a plea of not guilty to all charges contained in that indictment,” Terlaje’s lawyer, Jay Arriola told the court.  “Speedy trial is waived.  We request a grand jury recording of all discovery, Brady and Laxamana material.  Jury of 12 is demanded as well, your honor.  As to conditions of release, we wish to be heard.”

Arriola says case missed the statute of limitations

Judge Quan granted the request for a jury of 12 and said Terlaje’s next court hearing will be in front of Judge Vernon Perez.  The judge let Mr. Arriola speak regarding the pre-trial release conditions requested by the Office of the Attorney General.  Mr. Arriola said, “On its face, the first charge of the indictment alleges that it occurred sometime in 2017, about one year beyond the statute of limitations.  It’s now 2021, 2022 so on its face, I note the staleness of the first charge, felonious restraint.  As to conditions of release, your honor, we ask that he be released on his personal recognizance.  He has not gone anywhere at any time since these allegations were first brought up.

“He is a former law enforcement officer; he has a long family history of connections and ties to the community and no prior record.  And we ask that he be released on a personal recognizance bond with standard conditions, including reporting once a month regularly with probation office, not leaving the island without permission of the court, staying away from certain identified individuals.  We have no objection to staying away from the alleged victim in this case, Vickilyn Teregeyo.  We understand she may be in prison or in custody and therefore he would not have any contact with her anyway.

“As to the Superior Court marshal’s division or probation office division, we would ask that, of course, your honor, he’s required to report to pre-trial services division, probation office, in person for whatever conditions the court may impose.  He also has family members including his son and daughter-in-law who are employed by the probation and marshal’s services, so he has reason to have contact with those family members at least or that section.  If the government would like him to stay away from certain identified witnesses, we’d ask that they provide them so that we can be made aware of who those witnesses are and so that he can avoid contact with them in the event contact occurs.  A vague order to stay away from all probation offices and all marshals or stay away from the divisions is insufficient to enforce.  More importantly, it sets the client up for potential violations when he’s not aware of exactly who he should be not in contact with.

“The issue is about making contact with potential witnesses in the case and so those witnesses should be identified.  Thank you, your Honor.”  Terlaje could be seen nodding in agreement behind his lawyer.

Judge Quan responded, “I’m going to release you on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond with conditions.  These conditions are imposed not because you are guilty but to ensure your appearance at subsequent hearings and for the safety of the community.  If you do not follow my conditions, you can be re-arrested and be brought to jail and you can be required to pay $5,000 in cash and you might not get out until after the trial or until the case is dismissed.  Do you understand?”

Terlaje replied, “Yes, your honor.”

To address the prosecutor’s concern about Terlaje having contact with any potential witnesses in the probation and marshals division, the local probation office has coordinated with the U.S. Probation office so Terlaje would be under weekly supervision with U.S. probation instead.

Vickilyn Teregeyo is not in jail.  She fled Guam following threats made against her life.



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