The chief prosecutor said the Office of the Attorney General is authorized to change an indictment at any time before a verdict or finding.
The AG's chief prosecutor, Basil O'Mallan, on Monday filed the government's opposition to former Guam police officer Mark Torre's Jr.'s motion to dismiss an amended indictment filed against him.
The prosecution is taking Torre, 35, to trial in the Superior Court of Guam for a second time in connection with the 2015 shooting death of Guam police officer Sgt. Elbert Piolo.
Torre has since pleaded not guilty to the charges in the amended indictment. The defense argues that without the evidence that was suppressed after Torre’s first trial, there is no competent evidence supporting the grand jury's finding four years ago of probable cause.
The prosecution contends the defendant's claims have no merit, stating that, even with certain evidence being suppressed, there was competent evidence presented in 2015 to support a finding of probable cause. The verdict during the first trial was vacated by the Guam Supreme Court, meaning the case has been returned to pretrial status, the prosecution argues. The government states it has the authority to change an indictment any time before a verdict or finding.
Torre was initially indicted on charges of murder and manslaughter four years ago. He was acquitted of those charges, but found guilty of aggravated assault and negligent homicide – the crimes he is now charged with in the amended indictment.
In July, the Supreme Court of Guam vacated the aggravated assault and negligent homicide convictions against Torre. The high court ruled that the Superior Court erred when it denied the defense motion to suppress body-camera footage, which showed police interrogating Torre before he was read his Miranda rights: the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
The defense also contends the prosecution had exculpatory material related to the negligent homicide charge, but failed to present it to the grand jury.
The prosecution points out that the court has already rejected the defendant's arguments, determining that an amended indictment would not prejudice his rights since negligent homicide is a lesser included offense to manslaughter.
The prosecution asked the court to deny Torre's motion to dismiss the amended indictment.
Torre has asserted his right to a speedy trial.
He is scheduled to appear back in court on Oct. 31 for a further proceedings hearing.