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Man alleged stabs his co-worker after money turns up missing

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The 38-year-old man from Tafuna accused of using a sharp object to assault another man has been arrested and charged with second degree assault — a felony, punishable by not more than 5 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of not more than $5,000 of both; and two misdemeanor charges — unlawful use of a weapon and public peace disturbance.

During his arrest, cops discovered drugs on Ray Valaau. He’s also charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana and one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, both felonies.

The charges against Valaau stem from an incident that occurred last month in Tafuna, during which he allegedly used a piece of a broken glass to assault and severely injure a man.

According to the police report, Valaau and the victim had gotten into a disagreement after work. They are employees of a construction company in the Tafuna area. Eyewitnesses told investigators that it was the victim who threw the first punch and hit Valaau on the face. The victim also struck Valaau’s head with his back bag containing tools inside.

In response, Valaau became very angry and walked back to the company returning with a broken piece of glass and allegedly stabbed the victim in his back, shoulder and thigh.

Valaau then fled the scene and was later apprehended by police at his home in Malaeimi. Before Valaau was transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for questioning, he was patted down and during the body search, cops discovered a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance in his front right pocket.

Cops also searched Valaau’s wallet and found one hand rolled marijuana cigarette inside.

When questioned about the alleged assault, Valaau told investigators that he was very angry with the victim for stealing money from his bag that was inside his box at the company’s warehouse. Valaau said that the victim was the only person who was at the warehouse during lunch time. When he checked his bag, the $140 cash that was inside his wallet was gone.

He approached the victim and instructed him to give him back his money but the victim punched him in the face. That’s when he grabbed a sharp piece of broken glass and stabbed the victim.

When questioned about the drugs found in his possession, Valaau admitted that the drugs belong to him. He bought it from a man in Vaitogi for $30.

Valaau made his initial appearance in the District Court this month. His bail is set at $10,000.

Valaau’s attorney asked the court for a reduction in bail from $10,000 to $3,000. He told the court that Valaau is a hard working man, and he is the only member of his family who works to provide for his wife and two children. The defense attorney said his client is not a flight risk; he has no intention of leaving his family.

The prosecutor opposed the defense’s motion, saying the bail set by the court is the right amount for the offense the defendant is accused of committing.

The defense motion was denied and bail remains at $10,000; and because he is unable to post bond, Valaau remains in custody at the TCF.