Assault and drugs top the list of charges at District Court
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 39-year-old man from Iliili who is accused of using a piece of wood to assault another man has been arrested and charged with second degree assault, a felony, and two misdemeanor charges; property damage and unlawful use of a weapon.
William Amosa made his initial appearance in the District Court last week where he waived his right to a preliminary examination. He appeared in High Court yesterday and entered a not guilty plea to the charges against him.
According to the government, Etuale and the victim got into a disagreement and the victim allegedly attempted to assault Etuale but in the end, it was Etuale who assaulted the victim with a piece of wood by hitting his head hard multiple times.
Etuale is still in custody unable to post his $5,000 surety bond.
The man who was charged of unlawfully possession of a controlled substance has entered a guilty plea to the charges against him.
47-year-old Henry Taulaga, who was a bus driver when police arrested him in the early morning of June 19, 2018, was initially charged with a single count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; methamphetamine, a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than five years nor more than ten years and a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $20,000, or both.
However, under a plea agreement with the government, Taulaga agreed to plead guilty to an amended count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a class D felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of not more than 5 years and a fine of nor more than $5,000, or both.
With his guilty plea, Taulaga admits that on June 19, 2018 while he was working as a bus driver, he unlawful possessed a glass pipe containing methamphetamine. Taulaga further admits that when police pulled his vehicle over on the day of the incident, they found a glass pipe containing methamphetamine in his possession.
Taulaga, who is still in custody unable to post a surety bond of $5,000 is scheduled to appear in court on June 14, 2019 for sentencing.
The government has charged a 28-year-old man for unlawful possession of illegal drugs and for trying to break into a store in Vaitogi.
Alefosio Sefo made his initial appearance in District Court last week.
Sefo, who has a long criminal history in the court system, is charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; marijuana, and attempted burglary in the second degree, both class D felonies, along with disturbing the public peace (PPD), a class B misdemeanor.
Judge Elvis P. Patea established Sefo’s bond at $5,000. If he posts bond, the court has ordered that he not set foot in the store he allegedly tried to break in to, remain alcohol and drug free, remain law abiding, and not leave or attempt to leave the territory without permission from the court. He also has to surrender his travel documents and not make any contact with the government's witnesses.
According to the government’s case, a man informed police regarding a male who tried to break in to a store in Vaitogi by throwing rocks at the back door of the store on the night of Apr. 23, 2019.
Police responded to the call but were unable to locate the suspect. One week later, the same reporter contacted police again, telling them the man he saw trying to break into the store was within sight.
When police arrived this time, the witness pointed to the defendant who was playing rugby with some village youth. Police approached Sefo and asked if he could come with them to the station to discuss an important issue.
While speaking with police, Sefo immediately turned and ran to the back of a church building. A foot chase ensued.
Sefo was apprehended and placed inside the police unit. He was later transported to the Tafuna Police Substation for questioning. Prior to that, a body search was carried out during where police discovered inside Sefo's right pocket — two rolled cigarettes wrapped together inside a white blank paper.
Sefo told police they were marijuana cigarettes he got from a friend. He did not reveal to police what his friend's name is.
When asked about the alleged incident where he attempted to break in to a store in the village, Sefo said he doesn’t know anything about that case.