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Court Report

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KNIFE ATTACKER RECEIVES SECOND CHANCE FROM COURT

Petita La’ititi, who stabbed an ASCC student on the hand last year April, was given a second chance by the court. La’ititi, an ASCC student at the time of the incident, was initially charged with second degree assault, to which he pled guilty, as part of the plea agreement with the government in this matter.

La’ititi pleaded with the court to release him to allow him to care for his family members, who have health conditions.

The defendant apologized to the court, the government, his family and the victim for the actions which led him before the court last week.

“Please I ask for one more chance so I can put my life in order,” said La’ititi.

Public Defender Ruth Risch Fuatagavi called onto the stand the defendant’s uncle, Jr. Tuiasosopo,who took the stand and informed the court that La’ititi has two older brothers, one who is a dialysis patient and another who is crippled, and works at the library. 

Jr. Tuiasosopo noted that their family depends on La’ititi as the driver to take his older brothers to and from the hospital and work.

The Public Defender noted that it’s quite clear the defendant’s action is out of character and he has never been in trouble before. She added this was an incident where there was a fight between two groups, and this incident was the flashpoint where things got out of hand.

She added the defendant was the primary care taker for his family.

Assistant Attorney General Julie Pasquale said the government does not object to a probated sentence for the defendant and deferred to the court for sentencing.

When Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond and Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr. handed down sentencing for the defendant, Richmond noted that the court believes that the defendant still has a chance to become a productive member of society.

La’ititi was sentenced to five years in jail however execution of sentence was suspended and the defendant placed on probation on the condition that he serves 20 months in jail.

The defendant has already been in jail for 19 months.

He was ordered to undergo anger management counseling, is not allowed to consume alcohol, not to enter any bars or taverns and must not congregate with those who are drinking alcohol. The defendant is subject to random testing and upon his release from jail he’s to visit the probation office regularly. The court also noted that the defendant should attend and complete his GED course.

According to the government’s case, police had responded to a fight at ASCC, where ASCC told police one student from Fatu ma Futi was crossing the road to catch a bus home when the Vaitogi kids came over and beat him up.

It's alleged the victim ran to help his friend, when he was stabbed by Laititi.

The victim was taken to the hospital, where he was admitted to the Surgical Ward to undergo an operation on his arm due to torn ligaments and tendons in his left bicep.

MAN FACING ASSAULT AT SAMOANA PLEADS NOT GUILTY AT ARRAIGNMENT

Taumaloto Aiava who’s held on a $10,000 bail facing second degree assault and public peace disturbance was arraigned in the High Court last week, before Chief Justice Michael Kruse.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and asked the court through his lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Mike White, for a 30 day pre-trial conference next year January.

According to the government’s case, the alleged assault occurred on Samoana High School.

It’s alleged the victim was at the school to pick up his daughter from volleyball practice when he was approached by the defendant and was accused of calling Aiava’s girlfriend on the phone.

Court filings state the victim told Aiava he didn’t know what he was talking about, to which the defendant said he didn’t care and assaulted him with a tire iron.

The defendant refused to make a statement to police when he was taken into the police station. The tire iron has since been confiscated and taken to the police evidence room.

PLEA NEGOTIATIONS ONGOING IN  CASE AGAINST DRUG DEFENDANT

Plea negotiations are still ongoing in the government’s case against a 48-year old man, whose residence was raided by Vice and Narcotics Division. Police found 14 live marijuana plants. 

Fa’afeai Atimalala who’s charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession with intent to distribute, is being held in bail of $50,000 and is represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White.

White informed the court that Assistant Attorney General Julie Pasquale (who’s fairly new at the AG’s office) needs time to go over this case and plea negotiations are ongoing.

Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond, who was accompanied on the bench by Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr, granted the request and scheduled another pre-trial conference for the defendant on December 14, 2012.

According to the government’s case, police uncovered 14 live marijuana plants planted around the defendant’s home in Nu’uuli. Police executed a search warrant on the suspect’s residence and came across four marijuana plants growing inside a plastic bowl and ten marijuana plants surrounding the home. The marijuana plants which police confiscated as evidence have a street value of $5,000.

 All the plants, which were up to 3 ft. high, tested positive for marijuana. Police also confiscated two glass pipes, six marijuana joints and loose dried marijuana leaves. The defendant was convicted back in 1989 for ___similar conduct.



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