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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

EDWARD AVEGALIO DENIES CHARGES

Edward Avegalio, accused of dismantling a relative’s gravesite and now facing felony property damage has denied the charges against him. Avegalio waived his right to a formal reading of rights and charges when he was arraigned in High Court yesterday before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond, who was accompanied on the bench by Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr.

The charge the defendant is facing is a class D felony punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 or both. According to the government’s case, the victim is the widow of the deceased, whose gravesite was allegedly damaged by the defendant.

The victim filed a complaint with the Department of Public Safety at the West Substation on or about July 22, 2011, and the case resurfaced seven months later when it was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division for investigation.

Court documents state that the investigating officers interviewed four witnesses who told police they saw Avegalio knocking down poles with a sledgehammer while other men were clearing away the lumber and rebar Avegalio had knocked down.

Avegalio told investigating officers he is the nephew of the owner of the land on which the gravesite is located; and is quoted in the police affidavit as saying the family did not want anything done to the gravesite until the family had decided. However the family later found out the victim had started constructing an overhead cover to the gravesite.

According to court documents, Avegalio’s family told the carpenters to halt the building of the gravesite. It’s alleged that Avegalio admitted to police he damaged the gravesite by knocking down the cement poles with a 10-pound hammer.

Court documents state that damages are estimated at approximately $3,000. Pre-trial conference for the defendant is scheduled for July 27, 2012.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASE SETTLED WITH PLEA DEAL

The government has offered a plea agreement to a man accused of raping his wife. The matter was heard yesterday morning before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond and Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr.

Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin who represents the defendant told the court that the defendant has already accepted the plea offer and she’ll be filing the notice of change of plea to the court. Details of the plea agreement are not known at this time.

Samoa News is withholding the defendant’s name to protect the identity of the victim in this matter. According to the government’s case the defendant is accused of raping his wife and holding her against her will.

The defendant is facing felony charges of rape, first-degree sexual abuse, attempted kidnapping and false imprisonment.

The criminal charges are in connection with a domestic dispute that occurred last month, when the defendant accused his wife of having an affair.

According to the government’s case the defendant confronted his wife about the affair at her workplace.

It’s alleged after the confrontation the woman was taken to the Social Services shelter and several days later she was released and she then went to live with her relatives.

Police affidavit says when the man visited the wife he allegedly forced her to have sex with him and because she was scared of her husband she just let her husband do what he wanted.

It’s alleged when the couple agreed to go home and discuss their marital problems, while on the main road the defendant saw his friend and asked him for a ride.

According to court affidavits, the woman screamed for help when her husband was trying to push her into the vehicle.

It’s alleged while the victim was screaming the defendant placed his hand over her mouth and forced her into the vehicle. The husband has since been in custody with bail set at $35,000. Prosecuting this case is Assistant Attorney General Celia Reyna.



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