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Gov’t fails to file additional charges in Tafuna stabbing case

American Samoa District Court building
Defendant has been released on his own recognizance

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who was taken into police custody last week for allegedly using a sharp weapon to stab another man has been released on his own recognizance, by order of the court, after  the government was unable to file additional charges against him.

According to court information, Kitiona Polima was taken into custody and charged with public peace disturbance and third degree assault, both misdemeanors.

During his initial appearance last week in District Court, Polima was held without bail to await the government's filing of additional charges this week, as police were still investigating the case.

Polima was in court this week for another hearing, where Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey told the court that the government would not file additional charges, and the two misdemeanor counts are the only charges.

Without additional charges, Judge Elvis P. Patea ordered the defendant’s release on his own recognizance, and set another hearing for Sept. 25th.

Among the conditions of release is that Polima not make any direct or indirect contact with the stabbing victim, and he is to remain law abiding.

To make sure the court’s message is clear, Patea explained to Polima what no contact with the victim means, as ordered by the court.

For example, the defendant is prohibited from going to the victim’s home, and using social media including Facebook and other modern technology to contact the victim. And if the defendant sees the victim in public, Patea told Polima, “It’s your responsibility to leave” and stay away from the victim.

According to court information, the incident took place in Tafuna. Witnesses told police that Polima allegedly used a screwdriver to stab the victim’s head.

The victim was subsequently rushed to the hospital. While the motive of the stabbing is unclear, witnesses told police the incident occurred during a beer drinking session.