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Court Report

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MORE THAN 30 ARRESTS OVER THE LONG WEEKEND

More than 30 arrests were made over the weekend, including those arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol, public peace disturbances, juveniles and underage drinkers.

Twenty of the 30 arrested were for underage drinking in connection with the Department of Public Safety’s 10-day enforcement targeting underage drinking and vendors who sell alcohol to those under the age of 21.

The enforcement was conducted by the Office of Highway Safety in conjunction with DPS and led by Captain Lima Togia of the Patrol Division. Togia said the 10-day enforcement, which concluded over the long weekend, was a success.

He explained that any person under the age of 21 cannot buy alcohol, nor can any vendor sell alcohol to them, it’s against the law. The Captain declined to further comment on the result of the 10-day enforcement where 25 police officers were involved in this local campaign.

However, Samoa News understands that as a result of this campaign, several stores including bars and clubs were caught selling alcohol to minors and the police are currently working on forwarding the police reports to the Attorney General’s office for prosecution.

Among those arrested was a juvenile who was intoxicated and was caught trying to steal a bottle of Bacardi from Cost-U-Less. The juvenile allegedly placed the liquor bottle inside his pants and attempted to walk out with it, however he was caught by employees and the police were contacted for assistance.

GRANDPA BLAMES THE DEVIL FOR HIS ACTIONS

A 64-year old man charged in connection with a sexual case involving his six-year old granddaughter has entered into a plea agreement with the government. Samoa News is withholding the name of the defendant to protect the identity of the victim.

The grandfather was charged with sodomy, child molesting, rape, deviate sexual assault, sexual abuse first degree and endangering the welfare of a child. However, in the plea deal with the government the defendant entered a guilty plea to sodomy and deviate sexual assault while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges.

Sodomy, which is a class B felony, is punishable by five to 15 years in jail while the deviate sexual assault is a class C felony, punishable by up to seven years in jail, a $5,000 fine or both. The defendant admitted in the court that he committed sodomy and sexual assault.

“It was temptations by the devil in which I fell for, because the incident occurred when I was bathing the girl,” said the defendant while in tears. Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond who was accompanied on the bench by Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr accepted the plea agreement.

According to the government’s case, the sexual incidents between the 64-year-old man and the minor began in August 2011 with the latest incident January 6, 2012.

The defendant who’s held on bail of $100,000 will be sentenced on October 5, 2012.  Assistant Public Defender Michael White represents him while prosecuting this matter is Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop.

ASOFA TITIO JR CHARGED FOR AN ALLEGED BURGLARY

The government has charged an 18-year old male with second-degree burglary, stealing and property damage second degree in connection with the alleged break-in at the Center for Families of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (CFIDD) in December 2011.

Burglary and stealing are class C felonies, which are both punishable with up to seven years in jail, a fine of $5,000 or a fine of equal to twice the amount of gain from the commission, up to the maximum of $20,000 or both a fine and imprisonment.

The property damage is a class A misdemeanor with up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. Asofa Titio Jr who’s held on bail of $15,000 made his initial appearance in the District Court yesterday morning.  

According to the government’s case, when police officers arrived at the scene, three louvers were taken out from the bathroom window and it appeared the screen and window was damaged. Its alleged the items stolen from the CFIDD included, a box of manila folders, staplers, stapler remover, markers, crayons, box of sheet protectors, envelops, two computer memory cards and potato chips.

The government claims they were interviewing the defendant in another case, however he mentioned the incident at CFIDD. The defendant admitted that he ate the potato chips and stole items from CFIDD.

The defendant said that he no longer has the items that he stole from CFIDD. The government claims the defendant also admitted that he entered the CFIDD through a window and he went through three separate rooms inside CFIDD and took office supplies.

Its alleged the items stolen are valued at more than $100 and the cost of the repairs to the broken window is also more than $100.

TITO MALAE FACES ASSUALT CHARGE

The government has filed additional charges against Tito Malae charged in connection with an assault case that is alleged to have occurred last week in Ili’ili.

Malae, in his 50, is now charged with assault second degree, which is a felony in addition to public peace disturbance, a misdemeanor.  

According to the government’s case Malae got into a verbal argument with another man and the argument escalated.

It’s alleged the defendant struck the victim on the head three times with a rock. The victim was taken to the hospital where he was treated for the injuries to his head, which required 12 stitches.

A preliminary examination hearing for the defendant has been scheduled later this week.

Marcellus Tala Uiagalelei represents the defendant, held on bail of $5,000. Prosecuting this matter is Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe.

HYMIE SEFO’S CASE ARRAIGNED IN HIGH COURT TODAY

Hymie Sefo is facing charges of first-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary in the first degree and stealing, in connection with the burglary of a store in Leone two years ago will be arraigned in the High Court today.

According to the government’s case, on September 13, 2009, a cashier with FJP Kruse Inc Store in Leone reported to police the store had been broken into and a wooden safe had been pried open and close to $600 in coins were missing.

Also a cash vault containing close to $80,000 in cash and checks was taken from the store, court filings say.

The government claims witnesses who were near the area told police they saw the defendant and another man walking towards the Kruse store. It’s alleged police found three men, which included Sefo, were involved in this matter, one of the men, was an employee of Kruse’s store at the time of incident.

Court affidavit states that Sefo was terminated from Kruse’s store three months prior to the alleged break in.

According to the government’s case, Sefo admitted to police that two weeks prior to the break in, he and the other two suspects conspired to break into the store, at the time one of the two suspects was working as a watchman for the store. 

Sefo told police, he and one suspect upon entering the store, went straight to the office where the vaults were.

They used a crowbar to pry open one of the vaults — a wooden vault — and remove all the coins and placed them in a backpack that was in the office. The defendant admitted that he and another suspect carried the black vault out from the store and into the bushes across from the store, where they loaded it into a black truck and took it to an auto shop in Lepuapua, but attempts to open the vault were unsuccessful.

The government claims that one of the two suspects contacted Lokeni Nu’usolia to pick up the vault and take it to Faleniu to Nu’usolia’s residence, where the police found the vault.

Nu’usolia has also been charged in this matter. He’s facing receiving stolen property and his case is pending in the High Court. 

Kruse’s storeowners later identified the black vault. The vault contained $24,129.95 cash, $46,562.27 in checks and $1,828 in food stamps and $5,492 in TAOA food vouchers.

Sefo, who’s held on bail of $30,000, yesterday waived his rights to a preliminary examination in the District Court. Assistant Public Defender Mike White represents the defendant.



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