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JOHN SIMI RELEASED FROM JAIL IN ROBBERY CASE
 
A man who had pled guilty to second degree robbery because he had stolen $200 from a table inside a bakery, and removed another $200 from a man who was sleeping, was released from jail yesterday.
 
John Simi was initially charged with first-degree robbery but in a plea agreement with the government the defendant pled guilty to the amended charge of second-degree robbery.
 
During sentencing, Simi apologized to the court, the couple whose bakery he broke into, and to his family for his wrongdoing.
 
His mother knelt before the court when she pleaded for the court to release her son from jail, noting that he’s an only child. The mother was told by the court marshal to take the stand and not kneel.
 
She pleaded with the court again to release her “only” son to come home and care for them because there’s only three of them at home.
 
Assistant Public Defender Mike White told the court the defendant did not plan to break into Hawaiian Bakery, rather he passed by and the door was open. He said although this is a serious matter the court needs to consider that the defendant is a first time offender and he’s a young man who can turn his life around and become a productive member of society.
 
According to the government’s case, the defendant broke into the store and took $200 from a table. Then he went to a place inside the bakery where the owner was sleeping and reached inside the owner's pockets. The owner woke up and Simi pushed the owner off the bed, causing injuries to the owner's arm.
 
Richmond sentenced the defendant to five years in jail however sentencing was suspended and he was ordered to spend 20 months in jail, with 17 months being stayed. The defendant had already served three months, and was released.
 
The defendant was also ordered to pay a fine of $1,000, while the amount of restitution is pending until the exact amount can be determined by the government.
 
STATUS ON ALLEGED PROSTITUTION CASE
 
The Attorney General’s office is moving to consolidate the criminal cases against Lusia Tusi aka 'Sheila' and co-defendant Fa’asaina Park owner of the Karaoke bar in Satala, in an alleged prostitution case.
 
Tusi and Park are each charged with promoting prostitution second degree, a class C felony punishable with up to seven years in jail, a fine up to $5,000 or both, and two counts of third degree assault which are both class A misdemeanors carrying a jail term of up to one year in jail, and a fine of up to $1,000.
 
The matter was in court for their pre-trial conferences, when Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe noted that the government wants to consolidate the two cases, given that it stems from the same incidents.
 
While Public Defender Douglas Fiaui, representing Tusi, did not oppose consolidating the cases, Fiti Sunia, who represents Park, objected to the motion. Chief Justice Michel Kruse told Sunia to put the objection in writing and submit it for the court’s consideration, and the response will be in writing, he said.
 
According to the government, police received a call from the Airport Security guards that two women, M.W and I.M were seeking assistance from the guards, saying they were "scared to leave the (security) office”. Police arrived at the airport and spoke with the girls, who claimed they were assaulted by their sponsor Park inside the Karaoke bar in Satala, while defendant Tusi held down one of the victim’s by her wrist during the assault.
 
M.W told police that Tusi slapped her and dragged her by the hair and repeatedly punched her on the back. Police observed bruises on M.W’s back and she was taken to the hospital for medical treatment.
 
Court filings say the girls told police they engaged in sexual acts with male customers from the bar to earn money, as they were not paid in their job as waitresses in the bar, and they did so with permission of their sponsor, Park, who also gave them detailed instructions on how to perform such acts, “in ways that would most please the male customers and keep them coming back to the bar.”
 
PERENISE TA’ALA’S CASE SET FOR JURY TRIAL 
 
The driver of the blue Toyota 4runner involved in an accident on the Aoloau Road, Perenise Ta’ala, will fight his case before a jury trial. Ta’ala, who works at the Legislature, was in court for his pretrial conference in connection with the accident, which led to the death of a man in his 20’s. During the hearing yesterday, Ta’ala, through his attorney Public Defender Douglas Fiaui, asked the court for a jury trial date.
 
Ta’ala remains incarcerated on bail of $20,000 and is charged with vehicular homicide and driving under the influence.
 
According to the government’s case, the vehicle — which was carrying six passengers — was heading up the hill in Pava’ia’i (Aoloau Road) when the back part of the vehicle rammed into an electricity pole. 
 
MAN CHARGED IN SEX CASE INVOLVING FIVE-YEAR-OLD DENIES CHARGES
 
A man who allegedly fondled a five-year-old girl was arraigned in the High Court yesterday. He’s held on bail of $50,000 and is represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White, while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Tiffany Oldsfield.
 
To protect the victim's identity, Samoa News is withholding the defendant’s name from publication. According to the government’s case the man, who lives at the victim’s residence, was at home alone with the girl when the alleged incident occurred. He’s being charged with child molestation and endangering the welfare of a child.
 
The young girl told police the defendant allegedly touched her inappropriately about four times for about two minutes. Police spoke to the defendant, where it is alleged he admitted penetrating the victim’s private parts with his finger.



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