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Guam - Another key witness in the Nimitz Hill Home Invasion case, 17-year-old Kyle Cruz, took the stand today and testified against Raymond Torres Tedtaotao, who’s on trial for the attempted murder of Rebecca Piper.
Cruz was an accomplice to the burglary, but took a plea deal with the AG’s office to avoid stiff punishment. He described in gruesome detail what happened the night of April 19 at Piper’s home in Nimitz Hill, incriminating Tedtaotao as the man who brutally attacked the victim.
Kyle Cruz’s testimony is crucial to the prosecution which could help land a conviction against Raymond Torres Tedtaotao in the absence of Rebecca Piper’s memory.
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Piper was the victim of a vicious beating on April 20 that has now left her partially paralyzed. She has also testified that she has no memory of the night she was attacked. And police believe Tedtaotao is responsible for Piper’s life altering injuries.
That allegation was corroborated in court today when Cruz took the stand. Cruz admits that he was there the night Piper was attacked in her Nimitz Hill home. He told the jury that on April 19 he got a phone call from his friend’s father, Anthony Mendiola, asking him if he would help him with a mission—to rob a house.
Cruz agreed and was picked up a few minutes later in Yigo. Inside the car, Cruz notes, was Mendiola in the passenger seat. The driver, he says, was Tedtaotao. The three stopped by the Sinajana Mobil gas station, then proceeded to Piper’s home.
According to Cruz, he was instructed to knock on the front door of the home. When no one answered, Cruz says he went to the side of the house and knocked on the sliding door. While knocking, Cruz says Tedtaotao leaned against the wall in an attempt to hide conceal himself from view of the resident.
Moments later Piper answered the door, says Cruz, who said he began asking for directions but stuttered. That’s the moment when, Cruz told the jury, Tedtaotao attacked Piper who screamed as Tedtaotao pushed his way into the sliding door then tackled her to the ground.
Still screaming, Cruz says Tedtaotao told Piper to shut up then pistol whipped her with the handle of an airsoft gun on her mouth. Cruz handed the duct tape over to Tedtaotao, then followed Mendiola to ransack the house.
Cruz told the jury that during the raid, he stole a small camera, a cell phone and a black bag filled with clothes. Although Cruz did not witness Tedtaotao continue to attack Piper, her roommates and husband found her later that night and told police that she was lying on the ground unconscious behind a sofa, her face disfigured.
She was rushed to Naval Hospital in critical condition. Piper suffered from severe brain trauma and was hospitalized for weeks.
The crime sparked community outrage because Tedtaotao was once a named defendant in the Crown Bakery assault just six months earlier. Although Tedtaotao was not the prime suspect in that case, police alleged that Tedtaotao used the victim’s credit card.
The charges against Tedtaotao in the Crown Bakery case were eventually dismissed and he became a free man. Six months later, Tedtaotao was arrested for Piper’s beating.
After learning that another woman was brutally attacked by Tedtaotao, Monique Baza, the Crown Bakery victim, came forward and publicly shared her story with the media, blasting the AG’s Office for dropping the ball in her case. At the time, Baza lamented that if Tedtaotao’s charges had not been dropped, then Piper’s beating could have been prevented.
Tedtaotao’s trial is scheduled to continue through Thursday morning. Afterwards, Mendiola’s trial is expected to continue in the afternoon.
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