Man accepts plea bargain after stabbing incident
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The court has accepted the plea agreement between the government and Joseph Olataga, who is accused of stabbing a man with a knife during a drinking session earlier last year. Olataga, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $20,000 cash bond appeared in High Court last week for a Change of Plea hearing.
Olataga, 28, was accused of stabbing a man with a knife, following a verbal argument during a drinking session at the victim’s home in Tafuna. He was facing one count of first degree assault, however in a plea deal with the government, accepted by the court, he entered a guilty plea to second degree assault, which was amended from the original count.
According to court documents, the government claims that on May 28, 2020, Olataga was at the victim’s house for a weekend party. Olataga and the victim are very close friends. It was near the end of the party when a verbal argument between Olataga and another man started, and Olataga became angry with the man.
The victim then stepped up and tried to calm the argument between Olataga and the other man. Out of nowhere, the man punched Olataga in the face. Olataga thought that it was the victim who punched him. He then walked to his vehicle and grabbed a knife, and walked over to the victim and stabbed him in the shoulder and his back.
Court filings say the wounded man was taken to the LBJ Hospital where he was hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for two days.
Sentencing is set for next month.