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Man arrested in stabbing case found with marijuana in his pocket

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man arrested last month after he allegedly stabbed a man with a kitchen knife he had hidden in his back bag, he has also been charged for illegal drugs that police discovered in his possession.

Asovale Tala’i made his initial appearance in court last month.

He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, an unclassified felony; along with one count of 2nd degree assault, a class D felony and 3rd degree assault, a misdemeanor.

Bail is set at $10,000.


Several police officers responded to a call from Malaeimi last month, regarding an alleged incident where a man was injured after he was stabbed twice — in his shoulder and back.

Police arrived at the scene and observed a man sitting in the back of a truck, while two males held him down in an effort to stop him from fleeing the scene.

Police immediately took control of the man being held down and he was placed inside a police unit for his safety. The man was later identified as Asovale Tala’i, the defendant in this matter.

After gathering information from witnesses, Tala’i was transported to the police station for further investigation. Before transportation, police conducted a body search on Tala’i and discovered a small stamp size baggie containing a green leafy substance inside his right front pants pocket.

An eyewitness told police that he was talking to his son on the phone at the side of an Asian store when he saw two men fighting each other. He saw the victim try to push the defendant but the defendant turned around, pulled out something from inside his black back bag and allegedly stabbed the victim in his back and shoulder before he punched and kicked the victim.

Other people who were at the scene jumped in and broke up the fight and immediately assisted the injured man while other men stopped Tala’i from fleeing the area.

Another eyewitness echoed the first eyewitness’ statement to police. She said while walking on the side of the road, she saw two men arguing before the man with the red shirt (which was later identified as the defendant) stab another man (victim) with a knife. She yelled out to stop and at the same time called 911 for help after seeing blood coming from the victim’s shoulder.

When questioned by police, the victim said it was the defendant who started the fight by pushing him to the ground and threatening to kill him after he confronted him about an incident where he allegedly gave drugs to his nephew. He told the defendant that if he continued to do so, he would inform the village council and police about his behavior.

The victim said he was mad and immediately punched the defendant in the face. He then apologized to Tala’i for his action and begged him to go home because he didn’t want anything more to happen between them. According to the victim, the defendant was very intoxicated and his eyes were red.

The victim told police that earlier had had noticed that Tala’i was very drunk and was acting different, so he advised him to go home; but Tala’i refused and wanted to continue hanging around in the area where the victim and his friend were fixing the tire of a vehicle parked at the side of an Asian store.

Later on, according to the victim, Tala’i left him and walked to the other side of the store, grabbed a rock and attempted to throw it at him. The victim called out to Tala’i to stop his stupidity and go home because he’s too drunk and then ran towards Tala’i to check on him and make sure he was okay. Tala’i turned around and continued walking to his house.

The victim told police that he followed Tala’i telling him to go home, however, he was shocked when he felt a sharp object in his shoulder. He turned to run but he also felt something sharp on his back and then his shoulder again. He said he stumbled and felt dizzy, as he pulled the knife away from Talai’s hand and threw it on the ground, and began walking backwards.

The victim underwent surgery and them was admitted to the ICU.

When asked by police, Tala’i stated that he was mad after the victim called him different names, accusing him of giving drugs to his (victim’s) nephew and also punched him in the face.

After the victim punched him, he stood up and walked to the other side of the road. However, he saw the victim following him. He thought the victim was coming to assault him more. He said he had a concealed cooking knife inside his black bag.

So when the victim bear-hugged him, that’s when he grabbed the knife with his right hand and stabbed the victim in his shoulder, in his back, and then in the shoulder again, before he ran away.

When questioned about drugs found in his possession, Tala’i said he doesn’t remember anything about the drugs because he was too drunk.