Outstanding warrants discovered after PPD report in Happy Valley
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man with a long criminal history was taken into custody last month after police picked him up for a public peace disturbance (PPD) in Happy Valley in the Tafuna area.
Asovale Opeta, 36, who has previous assault and stealing convictions from 2014, made his initial appearance in court last month.
Opeta is charged with second-degree assault and unlawful possession of marijuana, both felonies; and two misdemeanors — PPD and third degree assault.
Bail is set at $10,000.
Cops responded to a PPD incident in Happy Valley, Tafuna, after a young woman contacted police for assistance, regarding an intoxicated man yelling profanities at her husband and throwing stones at her friend’s house.
Police arrived and spoke to the caller who told them that it was around 7:21p.m when she called her husband to pick her up, along with her children, in front of her friend’s house in the Happy Valley area. She said as her husband was about to exit his vehicle, an old truck pulled up and blocked her husband’s vehicle. Her husband then exited his vehicle and walked over to speak to the driver of the truck.
As her husband was approaching the driver, a man who was later identified as the defendant exited the passenger side of the truck, walked towards her husband and immediately punched him in the face and yelled, “You’re parking in our land and you’re blocking the road to my house.”
According to the witness, her husband did not throw any punches; instead, he stood up and ran back to where his vehicle was parked, while the defendant followed him. Three young men who were walking on the road at the time of the alleged incident jumped in and stopped the defendant from striking the victim again. However, the defendant turned around and punched one of the men who had tried to stop him, and all of the three young men took off for their own safety.
The defendant then jumped into his vehicle and tried to leave the scene. However, a man from the neighbor’s house rushed to the scene, grabbed the defendant and held on to him inside his vehicle until the police officers arrived.
Opeta was apprehended and transported to the Tafuna Police Station (TPS) for questioning.
When interviewed, Opeta said that he assaulted the victim for blocking the road to his house. He said it was the victim’s fault, and went on to describe an incident that had happened one to two hours prior to the current confrontation, where the victim’s vehicle had blocked his truck from leaving the parking lot of an Asian store in Tafuna when the victim parked behind him and went into the store. He said he waited for over an hour for the victim to come back out and remove his vehicle.
The defendant further stated that he and his cousin were driving back home when they spotted the same vehicle that had blocked their vehicle at the store blocking the other half of the road to his house.
The defendant said he was in the passenger seat while his cousin was driving.
He then exited the vehicle, walked over to the victim and yelled at him that he’s blocking the road before he punched him in the face. He also stated that the victim turned around and grabbed his neck and told him that he would kill him and his family if he bothered him again.
As he was making his way back to his vehicle, the defendant told officers that three young men walked over and tried to interfere, so he turned around and punched one of them in the face, before all three men took off. And, as he was trying to move his vehicle, that’s when a man grabbed his neck from outside and held him inside his vehicle until police arrived.
It was revealed during Opeta’s police interview that he had an outstanding arrest warrant from another assault case, where he is alleged to have assaulted a man, using a hammer during a drinking session at a friend’s house in Vaitogi.
THE OUTSTANDING WARRANT
On Oct. 29th, 2019, a woman contacted the TPS for help, after her husband was assaulted by a man known as “Days” during a drinking session at their neighbor’s house in Iliili. Days was later identified as Asovale Opeta, the defendant in this matter.
When police arrived, the woman told them her husband was at their neighbor’s house for a wedding party and her husband was engaged in a drinking session with other men who were at the party. At around 9:30p.m, her neighbor called her that her husband was injured after a man assaulted him by striking his head with a hammer.
The wife said she rushed to the scene and discovered her husband sitting on a chair with blood covering his face while another man, later identified as the defendant, was standing on the other side of the house holding a hammer in his right hand.
Eye-witnesses told police that Opeta is believed to have instructed the victim to go home because he’s drunk. The victim responded by telling Opeta to mind his own business because he was not the person who provided everything for the party. That’s when Opeta pushed the victim on his chest and threatened to kill him if he refused to go home.
The victim became angry and allegedly yelled profane words at Opeta and told him that he should be thankful for the free food and beer he received from someone he doesn’t know. Furthermore, the victim told Opeta that only a coward acted like that.
While the victim was attempting to stand up, Opeta allegedly walked over to him and hit him on the back of the head with a hammer, causing the victim to fall; and while the victim was on the ground, Opeta allegedly kicked his back twice before walking to the other side of the house.
Video footage of the incident recorded by a nearby store’s surveillance camera was obtained by police, and it confirmed Opeta’s involvement.
After police obtained a warrant from the court to arrest Opeta, he was nowhere to be found.
On Mar. 20, 2012, Opeta was sentenced to 28 months detention as a condition of his 7-year probation sentence, after pleading guilty to the amended charge of second-degree burglary, under a plea agreement with the government.
The government says Opeta unlawfully entered a home in Ottoville with a male juvenile and stole several items and sold them for money.