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Court Report


Inmate I’umalo Seiuli has been charged on two counts of escape while on work release, and each count is a class D felony punishable from five to 15 years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both fine and jail term.

The defendant made his initial appearance in the District Court yesterday. According to the government’s case, Captain Paulo Leuma who heads the Vice and Narcotics division was assigned to investigate a series of escapes by the defendant.

The government says the defendant has been serving jail term since February 13, 2009 for his conviction of Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance. Seiuli’s first work release program application was processed and approved on July 14, 2011.

The government alleges that the terms and conditions of his work release were made known to the defendant, who started working on July 18, 2011. His work release was terminated on September 2, 2011 following the defendant’s random drug test, which came out positive for marijuana, say court filings.

The government claims that the defendant was approved a second time for work release to work for Sili’s Burger and Car Wash where he started on April 23, 2012. Again the defendant was informed of the conditions and terms of the work release.

This second work release program was terminated a month later, after a criminal investigation involving employees of Sili’s were questioned regarding a box of drugs seized by Custom’s Officers at the Fagatogo Post office.

According to the government’s case, several sources told police they observed the defendant at his family residence in Nua ma Se’etaga while on work release.

The government claims the conditions of the work release do not allow him to deviate to other places, but only to his work place and back to the jail. The government claims the defendant has denied the allegations.

Police questioned the defendant’s wife, who admitted that her husband has visited them at the house about three times.

The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.


Petita La’ititi will be sentenced next month after he entered into a plea agreement with the government in connection with an assault case back in April 2011 at the American Samoa Community College.

La’ititi an ASCC student at the time of the incident, faced second degree assault, to which he pled guilty, as part of the plea agreement. According to the government’s case, police responded to a fight at ASCC. The security at ASCC told police one student from Fatu ma Futi was crossing the road to catch a bus home when the Vaitogi kids came over and beat him up. 

It's alleged the victim ran to help his friend, when he was stabbed by Petita.

The government claims that after the defendant stabbed the victim in the back of his left bicep with a pocket knife, the defendant ran towards his classroom at ASCC and hid there.

The security approached the defendant and asked him for the pocket knife, which was later turned into evidence by police.

Several witnesses told police the defendant was making threatening gestures at them by forming his fingers in the shape of a gun and shooting it at them and the defendant also slid his finger across his throat gesturing that he was going to slit their throats. 

The victim was taken to the hospital, where he was admitted to the Surgical Ward to undergo an operation on his arm due to torn ligaments and tendons in his left bicep.


Felony assault has been filed against Maua Lesoapule of Se’etaga in addition to the public peace disturbance charge surrounding an incident that occurred last week.

According to the government’s case, on Oct. 18, 2012 police received a call from a male child requesting police assistance in Se’etaga. Police responded and met with one of the victims, who claimed the defendant was consuming alcohol while preparing umu.

The defendant got into an argument with his sister and allegedly ended up throwing a breadfruit at her and later punching her.

According to court filings, the husband’s sister attempted to stop the altercation, however the defendant then punched his brother-in-law in the eye.

The defendant, who was furious, allegedly damaged items inside the house and then fetched a machete and threatened his brother-in-law.

The government is conducting more investigation into this matter to determine if additional charges should be filed against the defendant.

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


Jordan Otemai, who fought his case in a jury trial on one count of interfering with a police arrest was found guilty following a jury trial in the District Court. Otemai a 19-year-old man is accused of interfering with police when police officers responded to a big fight in Pago Pago in June, this year.  

Following the guilty verdict, which had been rendered by an all woman jury, the defendant was sentenced to eight months probation, under the condition that he apologize to the police officers who responded to break up the fight.

Lead investigator Iapani Tiumalu Jr, testified that the defendant grabbed his shoulder during two separate incidents when he tried to arrest a man who was encouraging the crowd to assault the police officers and more officers were called to the scene as the four who first responded were outnumbered.

The defendant was also ordered to pay a fine of $200 and undergo and successfully complete alcohol counseling.