The Palau Supreme Court yesterday denied the defense’s “directed verdict” motion to dismiss the case against Inis Remoket, on the fourth day of the trial. The motion intended to show that Mr. Remoket, who is accused of murdering his wife Ochob Jaycee Iyar Soto in September 2016, has not been proven to be guilty.
A “directed verdict” motion seeks to dismiss a case following the testimonies of all the prosecution’s witnesses, on the basis that the evidence does not fully support the charges.
Defense Attorney Aster Takeshi of the Office of the Public Defender said that so far the prosecution has not proven that Inis Remoket caused his wife’s death and that the evidence presented by the witnesses is all circumstantial. He added that in the time following his wife’s disappearance, the accused had “consented to police officers searching his house and vehicle”, none of which unearthed evidence linking him to the disappearance.
Honorable Oldiais Ngiraikelau, who presides over the trial, ruled that “at this time in the case” the prosecution has offered enough evidence to present a strong case for the defendant’s guilt.
The Prosecuting Attorney, Rebecca Sullivan, has called 22 witnesses to testify: eight law enforcement officers, two medical experts, and the rest laypeople.
According to eyewitness testimonies, Ochob was last seen arguing with her husband at 3:00 in the morning on the day she disappeared. Later that night, Inis was seen with blood on his pants, and was later found alone, passed out around 6 a.m. in his car. Witness testimonies also say that Mr. Remoket was seen later that day crying over his children, and that, in the weeks following Ochob’s disappearance, Mr. Remoket continued to claim that his wife was away in Guam.
Searches by law enforcement officers did not begin until Ochob’s family alerted them to her absence a month after the disappearance, which, according to Ms. Sullivan, gave the accused “more than enough time to hide evidence”.
Ochob’s remains were discovered two years later, in September 2018, in the ocean near the Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge.
According to the prosecution, Ochob’s therapist described the relationship between Inis and Ochob as one of “power and control, with Ochob as the victim”. In the summer before the disappearance, Ochob is reported to have left her husband to be with Mr. Tolenoa Tulensru. “Those who saw her described her as happy and excited for the future, except for her relationship with Inis,” the Prosecuting Attorney said.
“It is true that there was no eyewitness to the actual crime,” said the Prosecuting Attorney. “Unfortunately, this is often the case with the most serious crimes.”
The trial is set to conclude this morning, August 7, with closing statements at 9am.