HAGATNA, Guam — The girlfriend of a 22-year-old Guam man accused of killing three Japanese tourists in a resort area last year says he was hallucinating in the hours leading up to the rampage.
Reanne Acasio testified Tuesday in Chad DeSoto’s murder trial that DeSoto was in a fragile state before running a car onto a sidewalk, ramming into a convenience store, then getting out and stabbing bystanders.
Another 11 people were hurt in the February 2013 attack. DeSoto has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness.
Acasio, a 19-year-old college student, said she spent eight hours chatting with DeSoto through Skype before the attack. She says he begged her to keep talking with him and complained about voices in his head.
“It wasn’t a normal fear, so for eight whole hours I stayed with him,” Acasio said. “He was crying. He was completely scared of something. … He had a very hard time to keep focus.”
Acasio said she was scared but tried to keep cool and keep him on the line. But the connection dropped and she found out about the attack the next morning, she said.
“I didn’t think anything like that would happen,” she said. “Usually he just gets better.”
Three of DeSoto’s relatives testified Monday that he fell into depression after his paternal grandfather died and his girlfriend moved to California to attend the University of California, San Diego.
Acasio said she talked with DeSoto almost daily after she left, but his behavior became unusual with delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. She said he believed he was constantly under surveillance, that he was going to hell and that his family was conspiring against him. It became hard for him to trust anyone, including her, she said.
“He went from someone who knew how to control his emotions and even give advice on some of these emotions to being someone … who was struggling himself with difficult situations,” Acasio said.
Acasio, who was billed as DeSoto’s ex-girlfriend, said she talks with him several times a week and are back to being a couple.
DeSoto’s trial resumes Monday with expert witnesses giving opinions about DeSoto’s mental state.