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Court Report



A Senior firefighter in his 50’s made his initial appearance in the District Court yesterday on charges of second degree assault, property damage first degree and public peace disturbance. Falealo Savea Mauga, who was there in uniform, is being held on bail of $5,000 and is represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley.


The assault and property damage are class D felonies, punishable up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both fine and jail time, and the PPD count is a class B misdemeanor which carries jail term of up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $500 or both.


The charges stem from allegations that the defendant threw rocks at a vehicle which injured the driver and damaged the vehicle. According to the government’s case, a police officer saw the fireman throwing the rocks at the victim.


The officer who witnessed the incident noted that the defendant threw the rocks when there was a woman and child in the bed of the truck. It’s alleged the rocks thrown by the defendant struck the victim on the body and face.


The victim suffered contusions, abrasions and swelling to his face and also sustained a two centimeter laceration on his head and was treated at the LBJ hospital. The vehicle sustained damage on the driver’s side, left door, and the bed of the truck which will require repair in the amount of $2,125.




A Pava’ia’i man is held on bail of $30,000 on charges of second degree burglary and stealing, which are both class C felonies, both punishable for up to seven years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both. Tinai made his initial appearance in the District Court yesterday; he’s represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.


According to the government’s case, on Dec. 26, 2011 police were informed that a home in Pava’ia’i was burglarized where a cell phone and a surround sound home system were taken. Court filings say, the front door was damaged as a result of the break-in.


The government claims that when the victim called his cell phone an unknown person answered and the victim told the man to return his phone that was stolen; and the man demanded that the victim pay him $50 and they agreed to meet the next day.


The victim contacted police and they proceeded to meet with the man who had the stolen cell phone. The man then informed police that Tinai and another man sold him the phone for $20. The phone was then turned over to the victim.


A witness informed police that he saw the defendant and another person carrying a package on the night in question and upon asking the two men about the package, the men did not reply. It's alleged Tinai and the other man set the package on the ground and the witness saw a home surround system.


Court filings say the other suspect left while TInai stayed behind at the guesthouse where they were sitting. Tinai told the witness they should go and steal a DVD from a house he knew of and then they walked to the house.


The witness said, he waited outside to be the lookout while Tinai pushed the front door open and entered the house. It is alleged that he came out with a DVD player, a big speaker and four small speakers, after which they left the area.




Derek Ropati and Sefo Lemalu who are currently serving time in jail for previous criminal convictions have been charged with escaping from police custody on May 31, 2011.


Court filings say the two men had crawled underneath the fence to escape. Police officers apprehended Ropati inside the Manulele Elementary School on the day in question, around 6PM, while Lemalu was apprehended by police behind the Tutuila store the same day they escaped jail.


According to the government’s case Ropati was being held in custody following a conviction for a previous escape while serving time for a murder conviction, while Lemalu was incarcerated for a previous escape and robbery case.


The pair appeared before District Court Judge John Ward yesterday morning, and were both represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley. Prosecuting this case is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.




The government has filed additional felony assault charges against Sinave Tupuola on allegations that he struck another man with a beer bottle. Tupuola's bail was increased from $1,000 to $5,000 when the felony charge was filed. The defendant who’s represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley is facing second degree assault and public peace disturbance.


According to the government’s case, on Feb. 8, 2013 a man walked into the Leone substation requesting assistance while his head was wrapped with a shirt, which had blood on it. The victim — who was under the influence of alcohol — told police that Tupuola, who was also intoxicated, was upset because he wanted to get a loan of $300 from the victim, but he only received $200.


The victim further stated the defendant grabbed his beer and hit the victim on his head, and as a result the victim suffered two lacerations on his forehead. Police spoke to two witnesses, who saw the defendant strike the victim on the head.


The defendant will come to court next week for his preliminary examination (PX) hearing.