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No known motive for Nuuuli youth involved in assault case

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The two defendants both have prior run-ins with the law

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Police took into custody last Tuesday night two men, following a fight in Nuuuli, according to court information. The accused, Frank Isala and Willie Faapoi, made their initial appearances Wednesday in District Court.

Isala is charged with two counts of third degree assault and one count each of public peace disturbance, and underage drinking - all misdemeanors. Faapoi is charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth, a felony, and one misdemeanor count of third degree assault.

According to court information, the fight began after Isala allegedly threw a beer bottle towards a Malaeimi resident. Isala then walked over to the victim and punched him. Other youngsters, including Faapoi, joined the alleged assault, which took place in front of an Asian store in Nuuuli.

One person was reportedly injured but the extent of his injuries is unconfirmed.

It is unclear what the young men from Malaeimi were doing in front of the Nuuuli store that night, and what prompted Isala to start the fight.

Court information states that the charges against Isala stem from him punching the victim, as well as the driver of a truck who came to pick up the young man from Malaeimi. Two witnesses told police that as the driver exited his vehicle and tried to assist the injured youth, Isala walked over and punched him from behind, before kicking his back.

The driver was able to jump in his vehicle and drive off to avoid any further encounters with the two defendants and other youth from Nuuuli.

Several cops apprehended Isala and Faapoi at the scene. Before the two were placed in the police unit, a body search was carried out, during which police found a glass pipe containing meth in Faapoi’s pant pocket.

According to Faapoi, after the fight, he saw a glass pipe on the ground in front of the store and he picked it up and put it in his pocket. The white crystalline substance in the pipe tested positive for meth.

It was revealed during the hearing that Isala and Faapoi both have previous records - including fines which neither have paid.

Isala was convicted and sentenced in 2015 for public peace disturbance, with a fine of $170, not yet paid. Faapoi, 22, whose criminal record dates back to his early teen years, is on probation for previous run-ins with the law.

No specific details were mentioned in court on Faapoi’s previous crimes.

Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson argued for Isala to be released on his own recognizance, and Faapoi to be released on a $2,000 surety bond. The government opposed and asked that both men be released on bail. The government asked for $1,000 bond for Isala and $5,000 for Faapoi.

District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea agreed with the prosecutor. If they are able to post bond, both men are ordered to be law abiding and not make any direct or indirect contact with any of the people who were assaulted.

Pretrial conference for Isala is Jan. 29th while Faapoi will appear in court this Thursday for a preliminary hearing.