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BREAKING NEWS: Mark Torre Jr. acquitted

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Mark Torre JR.

Former Guam police officer Mark Torre Jr. stands during his negligent homicide trial in the Superior Court's San Ramon building in Hagåtña on Nov. 16. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

Mark Torre Jr. has been acquitted of the charges filed against him in connection with the 2015 shooting death of fellow Guam police officer Sgt. Elbert Piolo.

The jury this afternoon returned a verdict of not guilty. He was on trial on charges of negligent homicide, aggravated assault and a special allegation of possession and use of a deadly weapon.

It took the Superior Court of Guam jury nearly four days of deliberations to return with a unanimous not guilty verdict on Monday.

The trial started with testimony in August before Judge Arthur Barcinas.

The hearings were suspended after only a couple of days, as Guam returned to Pandemic Condition of Readiness 1 and the governor issued a stay-at-home order.

For the past two weeks, the jury heard the remainder of the testimony from both the government and defense witnesses.

Torre Jr. testified during the trial that he suffered from an alcohol-induced blackout the night of the shooting.

The defense contends that Piolo was suicidal and that Torre Jr. tried to stop him from shooting himself in front of the Torre residence in Yigo more than five years ago.

The prosecution argued that the 911 call with Piolo stating, “He shot me. He shot me,” along with the police body camera footage that captured police response that night, was enough evidence to prove otherwise.

This is the second time a jury found Torre Jr. had been on trial for negligent homicide and aggravated assault.

After his first trial in 2017, Torre Jr. appealed his conviction and eight-year sentence to the Supreme Court of Guam. He was acquitted of murder.

The high court ruled that the Superior Court of Guam had made an error when it denied the defense's motion to suppress the body camera footage, which showed police interrogating Torre Jr. before he was read his Miranda rights, which include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

The justices’ decision to overturn the conviction resulted in the prosecution filing a new indictment and a retrial.

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