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reporters@samoanews.com

MAN IN STABBING CASE ENTERS GUILTY PLEA

A man accused of stabbing another man with a knife will be sentenced December 21, 2012, after he entered a guilty plea before the court yesterday morning. Nimarote Fina’i was initially charged with public peace disturbance (PPD) and first degree assault.

However, Associate Justice Lyle L. Richmond, accompanied on the bench by Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr, accepted Fina’i's plea agreement to plead guilty to second degree assault and the government would dismiss the PPD count.

According to the government’s case, when police responded to a call that Fina’i had stabbed another man, they were told Fina’i had fled the scene.

Court filings state that when police found the Fina'i at his residence, he told police this was the result of an incident that occurred a month ago.

Fina’i admitted to police he stabbed the man once, because the victim and his cousin beat him up at their house. According to the government’s case the victim sustained a deep laceration on his back, which required 10 stitches.

The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White while prosecuting for the government is Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna.

COURT MARSHAL PLACED ON PROBATION

Court Marshal Maua Tupua was placed under eight months probation as a condition of his 25 day jail sentence, by District Court Judge John Ward, in connection with an incident that occurred in August.  Tupua entered a guilty plea to public peace disturbance on Thursday.

Tupua told the court he and his friend were at McDonald’s August 26, 2012, when an incident occurred between other men and his friend. Tupua said he was surprised that he was arrested, yet he was not involved.

Tupua told the court he was mistreated by police officers and was assaulted by one of the police officers that were outside the police station. He explained that he only asked about Officer Parker who arrested him.

He claims not to have threatened the police officers however, he was cuffed and arrested again. Tupua alleges he was cuffed by a Criminal Investigation Division officer and assaulted by the same officer.

Commander Lavata’i Taase Sagapolutele who oversees the CID vehemently denies involvement of any detective from his division. During the sentencing, Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag noted that the defendant said threatening and offensive remarks towards the police officers.

District Court Judge John Ward told the Marshal he should maintain a professional relationship with police officers. Ward stated that he understands the marshal disputes the facts of the case however, he was given an opportunity to depart the police station, but he didn't, and he let his pride take over.

Tupua was sentenced to eight months probation and ordered to undergo alcohol counseling and pay a fine of $100 immediately. The marshal was also ordered to serve 25 days in jail, to be deferred on good behavior.

HYMIE SEFO TO ENTER GUILTY PLEA

Hymie Sefo who is facing charges of first degree burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary in the first degree and stealing, in connection with the burglary of a store in Leone two years ago, is scheduled to enter a guilty plea next week.

Sefo remains in jail on $30,000 bail.

According to the government’s case, on Sept. 13, 2009, the FJP Kruse Inc Store in Leone reported to police the store had been broken into. The culprits allegedly entered through the side door.

Police were informed that a wooden safe vault had been pried open and close to $600 in coins were missing. The government claims witnesses who were near the area told police they saw the defendant and another man walking towards the Kruse store.

It’s alleged that during the investigation, police found three men, including Sefo, were involved. The court affidavit states that Sefo was terminated from Kruse’s store three months prior to the break in.

According to the government’s case, Sefo admitted to police that two weeks prior to the break in, he and the other two suspects conspired to break into the store, at the time one of the two suspects was working as a watchman for the store.

Sefo told police, they all agreed to steal the black vault and the wooden vault and take all the money inside. He also told the police that one of the suspects pried open the door using a crowbar.

It's alleged that Sefo and one suspect upon entering the store, went straight to the office where the vaults were and they used the crowbar to pry open the wooden vault and removed all the coins and placed it in a pack-back that was in the office.

 Sefo said he and the other suspect carried the black vault out from the store and into the bushes across the store, where they loaded it into a black dodge and took it to an auto shop in Lepuapua, but attempts to open the vault were unsuccessful.



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