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Young man charged in alleged stabbing says he was "scared"

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — An alleged stabbing that occurred New Year's Day in Fagaima has landed a young man in jail, charged with second degree assault.

Henry Talia made his initial appearance in District Court on Friday, Jan. 4.

Judge Fiti Sunia has established bail for Talia at $5,000 and if released, Talia is ordered — among other conditions of release — not to make any direct or indirect contact with the victim or witnesses, and he is to surrender all his travel documents to the government's attorney.

Talia's case has been bound over to High Court where he entered a 'not guilty' plea during arraignment last week.

According to the government's case, after police received a call for assistance, they arrived at the scene to find the victim lying on a grave, "applying pressure" to his abdomen area. The victim was assisted into a police unit, en route to meet an ambulance that had already been dispatched.

According to the criminal complaint, the responding officers did not know for sure the specific details regarding the injuries, except they noticed that the victim "was in pain and was still holding a cloth to his wounded abdomen."

The victim was transferred to an ambulance that was standing by in the Nuuuli area. Police were told by paramedics that the victim would have to be admitted because the laceration was two-inches wide.

At the scene, three investigators were able to speak to witnesses who briefed them on what happened. According to one of the males, he saw Talia take off towards the back of his house. He alleges that he saw Talia stab the victim before fleeing the scene with his brother.

Police swept the immediate area and came up empty — unable to locate Talia.

It wasn't long until investigators were able to speak to Talia's father and his brother at the Tafuna Substation. There, investigators were told by Henry's brother that they were walking by when the victim called out to Henry, asking him "if he wants a piece of him".

The victim allegedly stood up and made a fist, and that's when Henry allegedly stabbed him with a "silver knife" one time, before dashing towards the back of his house.

Henry was escorted to the Tafuna Substation later, by his mother.

In his statement to police, Henry echoed the story his brother told investigators. He said the victim asked him if he wanted a piece of him, and then stood up and made a fist; He said he got "scared" and stabbed the victim on the left side of his stomach, once with a knife.

According to Henry, when he stabbed the victim, the victim grabbed his neck with one hand, and grabbed his hand that held the knife, with his other hand.

That's when Henry allegedly pushed the victim and ran off towards the back of his house.

Henry is alleged to have thrown the knife in an abandoned lot, while making his way to Petesa Road.

According to the LBJ physician's report, the victim's wound was 5-6 inches deep and because of its location in the abdomen area, "he will be admitted at LBJ for a long time."

A pretrial conference for this matter is set for Feb. 22.