Friday, August 24, 2012

Teen facing prison may testify against mother

A young man is facing up to 10 years in prison for breaking into houses, but prosecutors have agreed to recommend a lightened sentence if the suspect testifies against his mother.

Patrick John Quinata, 19, was indicted for seven burglaries in 2011, and Superior Court
of Guam documents accuse him of stealing jewelry, a collection of silver and half-dollar coins, two Airsoft Pistols and at least real four guns -- including one assault rifle.

Earlier this year, Quinata pleaded guilty to burglary and theft, both as second-degree felonies, according to Superior Court of Guam documents. Quinata faces up to five years for each crime, his plea agreement states.

However, prosecutors offered to recommend a lightened sentence for the burglar if he testifies against his mother, Nalani Cruz Quinata, who allegedly profited from his crime spree.

Nalani Quinata is facing trial for charges of conspiracy to commit theft, conspiracy to commit burglary and two counts of theft by receiving stolen property -- all as second-degree felonies.

Although she has been indicted, Nalani Quinata isn't in custody, and there is an outstanding warrant for her arrest, said Josh Tenorio, a spokesman for the Judiciary.

According to court documents, Nalani Quinata allegedly admitted to police that she sold the jewelry stolen by her son at pawn shops and used the money to purchase methamphetamine, or ice.

Defense Attorney Jeff Moots, who represents Patrick Quinata, yesterday said his client's story was a tragic one.

Moots said his client "fell in with the wrong crowd," after dropping out of school, and his mother didn't steer him back to an honest path. Since being allowed pre-trial release away from his mother, the man has started going back to school, Moots said.

"I can tell you that in my experience, if the parent is involved in illegal activity either passively or even overtly with a kid, usually the kid would not have been involved if not for the parent," Moots said. "It's always possible for kids to get into trouble when their parents are trying to set the example and raise them properly, but if your parent is encouraging you to engage in ... illegal activity, you almost don't stand a chance."

Patrick Quinata was to be sentenced during a court hearing yesterday morning, but the sentencing was delayed so the suspect will have time to testify if his mother is apprehended.

Patrick Quinata is due back in court on Sept. 19.

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