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Manu’a resident transported to Tutuila to face arson charges

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man from Samoa who allegedly burned down a storage room and Samoan kitchen next to a family home in Manu’a has been charged with arson in the second degree.

David Sasagi was arraigned in the High Court yesterday and is being held on bail of $5,000. The investigating officer, in this case, is DPS Captain Siliaivao Sea.

Sasagi was served with an arrest warrant in Ta’u Manu’a earlier this month by Marine Patrol officers in relation to the fire that occurred last month — three days before Christmas.

According to the government’s case, Sasagi visited the family home in question asking the owner for beer, but the owner said there was only one beer — the one he was drinking.

It's alleged Sasagi left, and not long after someone attempted to pry the back door open.

The owner said he looked and saw Sasagi with a machete; opened the door and told Sasagi off.

“The owner of the house then removed the machete and put it on Sasagi’s neck and proceeded to strike the defendant on the back with the machete. It’s alleged that’s when Sasagi took off on foot.

However not long after, the owner of the house was awoken by his neighbor saying his storage room and Samoan kitchen were on fire.

The storage room had carpentry tools and fishing equipment that was burnt to ashes, says the criminal complaint.

It alleged when police in Manu’a interviewed the defendant, he denied it; however during the second interrogation at the Fagatogo Central Police Station Sasagi “confessed” to the crime.

Sasagi told police after a drinking session on the night of the incident, he went to the victim’s residence and asked if he had beer, however, the homeowner walked away without responding to him.

Sasagi went home and fetched a machete, but the homeowner removed the machete and put it on the defendant’s neck and struck him on the back.

After 30 minutes Sasagi returned and saw burning charcoals inside the Samoan kitchen and he placed them on some dry coconut husks and left. That led to a fire that burned down the storage room and kitchen.

According to the criminal complaint the value of items damaged as a result of the fire amounted to $5,000 but this does not include the storage room and kitchen.