TAUMALOTO ENTERS GUILTY PLEA
Taumaloto Aiava who’s facing second degree assault and public peace disturbance has entered into a plea agreement with the government. The defendant, who’s represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White pled guilty to assault second degree while the government moved to dismiss the remaining PPD count.
Upon his guilty plea the defendant admits that he struck the victim with a tire iron. Chief Justice Michael Kruse accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing for the defendant on Feb. 5, 2013.
According to the government’s case, the alleged assault occurred on the campus of Samoana High School.
The defendant refused to make a statement to police when he was taken into the police station. The tire iron was confiscated and taken to the police evidence room.
STATUS ON IOSE LIAINA’S CASE
“There’s a certain setting of criminal activity and it’s just so prevalent… the burglaries involving the youth, homes are being burglarized and a lot of businesses and we’re tired of this behavior,” said Chief Justice Michael Kruse when handing down sentencing for Iose Liaina, convicted of second degree burglary.
Liaina was first charged with first degree burglary, stealing and property damage third degree, however in a plea agreement with the government he pleaded guilty to the amended charge of second degree burglary, while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges.
The defendant apologized to the government, the court, the victim and his family for his actions. He begged the court to be compassionate when deliberating on his sentence.
The defendant noted that he made a mistake and has learned from it. Liaina said the Tafuna Correctional Facility is a terrible place and he does not want to stay there.
The defendant’s uncle took the stand and spoke on behalf of his nephew, saying that he was hanging around with the wrong crowd. He added that his nephew has lived with him for over four years and when this occurred he was shocked because he did not think his nephew was capable of such actions.
The Chief Justice noted the defendant may have done this because he saw that his friend had a ‘play station’ and he didn’t. However the uncle said the defendant did have a play station. Kruse said it’s obvious that something is wrong then.
Kruse then continued sentencing noting that the court has to look deeper into this case, because both parties have asked the court for leniency on the defendant without considering the victims.
According to the government’s case, the defendant broke into a home in Leone on Feb. 26, 2012 and took a play station three (PS3), a watch, and black leather Under Armor sport shoes. Sentencing for this matter is now set for next month.
The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna.
CASE OF LADY NAOMI CREW MEMBER IN HIGH COURT
The case of the Lady Naomi crew member, Feagaiga Si’ilata, accused of sexually related crimes against a young girl is now in High Court.
Si’ilata who’s facing rape, deviate sexual assault, first degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child last week waived his rights to his preliminary examination before District Court Judge John Ward.
The defendant was set to have his PX hearing on Friday, however he waived his hearing at the last minute. The 25-year-old crew member, who is from Samoa, is being held in police custody on bail of $25,000.
According to the government’s case, on Dec. 27, 2012 a woman contacted the Central Police Station claiming that her 15-year old daughter had been sexually assaulted by a crew member. Court filings state that the woman and her daughter were passengers on the Lady Naomi.
The government claims the woman contacted police when she saw the lights of Tutuila.
The defendant upon questioning by police admitted that he had sex with the girl twice and this is not the first time he had sex on the vessel with young girls.
Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin is representing the defendant, while Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop is prosecuting this case.
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