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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

PELASIO SO’OTAGA

Pelasio So’otaga who was recently released from jail following his conviction for a burglary has been arrested again and is charged in another burglary at Tafuna High School last year July. The defendant, who will make his initial appearance in the District Court today, is being held on bail of $20,000 and is charged with burglary first degree.

According to the government’s case, on July 5, 2011 a staff member at THS reported to police that the main office had been broken into. It's alleged that a $20 bill was taken from one of the desks inside the office.

Another teacher also reported to police that his classroom was broken into.

The male teacher told police, that before leaving his classroom on July 1, 2011 which was a Friday, boxes of computers which contained smart board equipment were in his class and were sealed.

However upon returning to school on Monday, he found the remote for the smart board equipment on the stairs to his class and when he checked, the equipment was still in the boxes.

According to the government’s case, on September 8, 2011 Detective Filemoni Amituana’i informed the investigating officer in this matter that three men who were apprehended for a different THS burglary are the same suspects of the July 2011 burglary.

Investigating officers on January 27, 2012 visited So’otaga at the Tafuna Correctional Facility, where So’otaga “immediately blurted out that he was not the only person involved.”

So’otaga named two juveniles as other suspects in the July break-in at THS. Court filings state that So’otaga told police he and other two juveniles had been planning to break into THS, and then on July 1, 2011 they broke into the school.

So’otaga said one juvenile who attended THS at the time directed the way to the THS main office, where the juvenile broke the door of the main office to gain entrance.

The defendant further stated that he saw one of the juveniles take the $20 and upon exiting from the school, they headed straight to a store in Petesa and bought food.

ACCUSED WIFE BEATER WILL ENTER GUILTY PLEA

A man facing charges of second degree assault in connection with assaulting his wife will enter a guilty plea before the High Court. Samoa News is withholding the name of the defendant to protect the identity of the victim in this matter.  

The defendant is charged with second degree assault, a class D felony which carries a jail term of up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both. This plea agreement follows on-going negotiations between the government and defense in this matter.

Details of the plea will not be available until it is read in open court later this week.  According to the government’s case the victim was admitted into the Surgical Ward due to her injuries sustained from a fall resulting in a broken leg.

The victim told police that her husband punched her on the sides of her stomach and slapped her on the face, and then she lost balance and twisted her leg, when she fell and her leg broke.

According to the government’s case, a medical report has it that the victim suffered a fractured tibia, and fractured fibula on her left leg and it would take three to four months until she can fully recover from her injuries.

The victim told police, her husband was upset because he was not able to meet up with his friend to buy marijuana because they had to return home due to the rain. The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin, while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna.

MALIEO MAUI JR ARRAIGNED FOR BURGLARY

Malie Junior Maui who’s held on bail of $10,000 waived his rights to a preliminary examination in the District Court yesterday. The young man has been charged on allegations that he burglarized an apartment in Fogagogo last year May. Maui is charged with burglary, a class B felony punishable from five to fifteen years in jail.

According to the government’s case on May 30, 2011 a break in was reported to the Department of Public Safety.  The victim told police she was awoken by someone shining a flashlight or a torch in her lounge. She further states that she yelled at the defendant as to what he was doing in her apartment, and the defendant opened the door and left.

The government claims, the victim went after the defendant to find him standing outside her front door. The victim asked the defendant why he was in her house, but the defendant apologized and said his name is John Aitui. It’s alleged the victim yelled for assistance to the office of the landlord, which is next door.

Police received a tip that Maui was involved and they proceeded to meet with the defendant. it's alleged the defendant admitted to police that he broke into the victim’s apartment and gained entrance through a screen wire on the window which he tore. The defendant noted that he has already apologized to the victim in this matter.

The defendant is represented by Karen Shelley while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna



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