Court Report


A Malaeimi man who stabbed another man with a knife has entered a guilty plea as charged. Sefo Lega, who has been in custody of police since last year October, pled guilty to second degree assault. The assault charge is a class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, and/ or a fine of $5,000.
Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond accepted the defendant’s guilty plea and scheduled sentencing for later this week. According to the government’s case, on Oct. 13, 2013 police responded to a call and upon arriving at the scene in Malaeimi, they were informed by the victim that Lega, who was intoxicated, had slashed him three times using a pocket knife.
The victim, who was taken to the hospital, sustained three stitches on each shoulder and three stitches on his neck as a result of the incident.
Court filings say that during interrogation “defendant stated that the victim tried to stop a fight between him and other people and that’s when he took out the knife and slashed the victim.”
Joseph Iakopo, charged in connection with 14 burglaries involving six stores, a church, two restaurants and five homes is behind bars with bail at $150,000. Iakopo is facing 34 criminal counts and is looking at taking a plea offer from the government in the matter. The criminal charges range from burglary first and second degree to attempted burglary, stealing, first degree assault and property damage, and if convicted on all charges Iakopo is looking at being incarcerated for a very long time.
The defendant was in court this week for his pre-trial conference, where he told the court through his attorney, Public Defender Douglas Fiaui, they have received a plea deal offer from the government and they need to go through it before the proper documents are filed with the court.
Police retrieved items from a home in Faleniu where the defendant had been known to temporarily stay, which are allegedly from the robberies he admitted to committing.
According to court filings the defendant admitted to breaking into 4 homes located on Canco Hill as well as several restaurants and stores. As to the church and pastor’s home he broke into and allegedly stole $5,102, Iakopo told police he had spent all the money on beer, hard liquor, and marijuana for himself and his friends and additionally stated he purchased food for his family. He also said he spent the money on taxi trips to a local bar and restaurant in the Tafuna area.


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