Two separate knife incidents land men in jail
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The District Court has set bail at $500 for Faulalo Tevita, who was taken into custody two weeks ago following an incident in Happy Valley where he allegedly went to a neighbor’s home with a kitchen knife and threatened the couple and their children.
Tevita made his initial appearance in court two weeks ago and is charged with misdemeanor public peace disturbance (PPD), but the prosecutor says the government may file additional charges as the police investigation continues on allegations of possible trespassing and making verbal threats to his neighbor.
If Tevita is able to post bail, he is ordered not to bother his neighbor or attempt to go on to their property, and he is banned from making any direct or indirect contact with his neighbor. Tevita will appear in court again on May 12, 2021.
According to court information, the PPD charge stems from a disagreement between the defendant and his neighbor after the neighbor’s dog bit Tevita’s son in front of the neighbor’s house.
When he came home from work, Tevita’s 13-year-old daughter informed her dad about the situation, that her little brother, Tevita’s 9-year-old son was bitten by their neighbor’s dog. Tevita’s son sustained minor injuries including scratches on his left thigh from the incident.
Tevita got mad after discovering what happened and walked to the neighbor’s home to ask them about what happened to his son. Nobody was at the neighbor’s house when Tevita arrived, so he went back home and waited until the neighbor returned home.
Around 7:33p.m, Tevita went back to the neighbor’s home and confronted the couple and their children about their dog. The couple immediately apologized to Tevita for what happened and told him they did not know about the incident, however, they told Tevita that they would take his son to the hospital and pay for all the expenses.
Tevita pulled out a kitchen knife from his rear pocket and pointed it at the couple and their two children and threatened them by saying that he would kill anyone including their dogs if their dog bit his son or any of his children again.
The couple called police and reported the incident. Tevita was taken into custody for further investigation. During the interview, investigators smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from Tevita’s breath.
Tevita told investigators he was very angry after he learned that his neighbor’s dog bit his son. He then apologized to investigators for his action, saying that there was no intention of killing anyone. He was only threatening the family out of anger.
It’s alleged that Tevita’s action followed a drinking session he had with friends at his home.
A man taken into police custody two weeks ago for allegedly using a sharp weapon to stab another man has been released on his own recognizance, by order of the court, because the government was unable to file additional charges against him.
According to court information, Ropati Polima was taken into custody and charged with public peace disturbance and third degree assault — both misdemeanors.
During his initial appearance two weeks ago in District Court, the defendant was held without bail to await the government's filing of additional charges last week, as police were still investigating the case at the time.
Polima was in court yesterday for another hearing, but the prosecutor informed the court that the government would not file additional charges and the two misdemeanor counts stand as the only charges.
Without additional charges, the court ordered the defendant released on his own recognizance and set another hearing for May 10th, 2021.
Among the conditions of release is that the defendant is to not have any direct or indirect contact with the alleged stabbing victim, and he is to be a law-abiding citizen.
To make sure the court’s message is clear, the court explained to Polima what no contact with the victim means — as ordered by the court.
For example, the defendant is prohibited from going to the victim’s home, and using social media including Facebook and other modern technology to contact the victim. And when the defendant sees the victim at a public place, the court told the defendant, “It’s your responsibility to leave” and stay away from the victim.
According to court information, the incident took place in Tafuna. Witnesses told police that Polima allegedly stabbed the victim’s head.
The victim was rushed to the hospital. While the motive of the stabbing is unclear, witnesses told police the incident occurred during a beer drinking session.
Polima was taken into custody for questioning where he was Mirandized after which he informed investigators that he understood his rights and wished to make a statement.
According to Polima’s written and oral statement, he told investigators that the victim stole money from his sister’s vehicle while it was parked in front of the store at the village. His sister told him that this is not the first time the victim did this to her.
While drinking beer with his two friends at the back of his sister’s house, he observed the victim making his way to the store. He called out to the victim to come over to discuss something with him.
While speaking with the victim, the victim allegedly punched the defendant. The defendant then grabbed a sharp piece of metal and stabbed the victim in the back of his head. The victim sustained minor injuries from the incident.