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Court Report


Merlin Uli, one of the Uli twins currently serving time on charges that he escaped while on work release on several occasions, has received a plea offer from the government.

Merlin is currently serving ten years in jail with his twin brother Marlon following their conviction on two counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

The defendant is charged with four counts of escaping while on program release, which is a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

The parties informed Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond about the plea offer and the defense counsel noted that he has yet to discuss the plea deal with his client.  Richmond re-scheduled another pre-trial conference date for December 17, 2012.

According to the government’s case, a police detective was assigned to investigate allegations that Merlin, who’s out on work release, was leaving his work place.

It’s alleged that on November 16, 2011 the defendant was approved to take part in the work release program and that he was to work at 3M Burger and attend college full time. This part time job was in between and after classes.

The government alleges that on June 22, 2012 a search warrant was executed at the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) Cell Unit inside the Tafuna Correctional facility where the defendant was housed.

“A number of items were seized during the execution of this search warrant. Some of the items indicated the defendant was deviating from the direct route to and from his work release” say court filings, which also state that during the search multiple receipts were confiscated from the defendant’s cell.

One of the receipts dated January 5, 2012 was for a money order at the post office in Fagatogo and the defendant’s signature was on the receipt.

It’s alleged the signature on the receipt matches the defendant’s signature on both his driver’s license and voter registration card. Police also confiscated the driver’s license and voter registration card issued to the defendant.

The driver’s license for the defendant contains Merlin’s photo and signature, issued on September 14, 2011. An employee with the OMV, Sam Kolone confirmed with police that he recalled seeing Merlin at the OMV on September 14, 2011.

The voter’s registration card also contains the photo and signature of the defendant, issued in September 2011.

 It’s also alleged that on May 25, 2012 post office employee Chevonne Lafaele was about to leave work at the Leone Post office, and while in her vehicle, she was approached by one of the Uli twins.

Lafaele was unclear which of the twins came to talk to her about a package that was scheduled to arrive on island, and tracking information for the package noted that it was already on island. However, Lafaele did not receive the yellow slip to pick it up.

Lafaele told Uli that he would have to go to the Fagatogo Post office. The government claims that a photo line-up was later presented to Lafaele where she identified that it was Merlin who she saw at the Post office in Leone.


The new case against Asofa Titio Jr in connection with a break-in which occurred June 13, 2012 at the Jade Restaurant in Nu’uuli has reached the High Court.

Titio and three juveniles are facing second degree burglary, stealing and property damage charges. The burglary, stealing and conspiracy counts are class C felonies that are punishable by up to seven years in jail, and a fine of up to $5,000. Property damage and receiving stolen property are class A misdemeanors punishable up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000- or both fine and imprisonment.

The defendant was arraigned in the High Court before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond where he denied the new charges against him.

According to the government’s case, the restaurant was reported to be burglarized while it was closed, and the culprits are alleged to have gained entrance from a window in the women’s restroom located at the back of the restaurant. 

It’s alleged that $100 in coins were taken from the cash register, along with six bottles of hard liquor and 12 bottles of Vailima Beer, altogether valued at $336. The estimated cost of the broken window is $120, and the cash register was also damaged. Police interviewed Titio Jr who admitted that he and three juveniles, including his little brother, had come up with the plan to break into Jade’s restaurant.

According to the government’s case Titio Jr said his little brother and the other juveniles removed the nuts and bolts from the bars that covered the windows where one of the juveniles gained entrance, opening the window for him and the other juveniles.

It's alleged that Titio Jr admitted that once he was inside, he grabbed sodas and two bottles of hard liquor, and he gave his little brother the money taken from the restaurant. Titio Jr told police after they left, they divided the money amongst themselves and he got $5.00. Police said statements from the other juveniles corroborated the testimony by Titio Jr.

In the meantime Titio Jr, who remains in the Tafuna Correctional Facility on $20,000 bail, is charged with two counts of first degree burglary, two counts of stealing, property damage in the second degree and property damage in the third degree, in connection with two burglaries at Sepp’s Wholesale store in the Industrial Park, back in February.


The government and defense are continuing negotiations in a case of a man who’s currently on probation following conviction of assaulting his pregnant wife, and is now facing additional counts in another case of assault.

The defendant, who is being held on bail of $20,000, is now facing third degree assault, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000, but not less than $150 or both. He is also charged with private peace disturbance, a class C misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to fifteen days, a fine of $300 or both.

The defendant appeared in court for a pre-trial conference hearing where Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin informed the court that on-going negotiations are underway.

The defendant’s case was heard before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond yesterday.

According to the government’s case, the victim contacted the police, she told them that  her husband had assaulted her on July 31, 2012. Police responded to the defendant’s home in Nu’uuli, where the victim said the defendant hit her repeatedly and threw her clothes out of the house.

She added that the defendant slapped her face and cheek several times. The wife further told police that her brother attempted to to help her, but the defendant threatened to shoot her brother if he interfered.

According to the government’s case, the victim told police that her husband has assaulted her numerous times, and she believes that one of those assaults resulted in her miscarriage in June 2012, when she was five or six months pregnant with the defendant’s child.

The victim’s brother told police his sister called him twice while she was crying and asked him to help get her out of her house, however the defendant repeatedly told the brother not to come or he would shoot him.

According to the government’s case the defendant pled guilty to third degree assault for assaulting his wife on March 20, 2012. He was convicted a second time for third degree assault, to which he pled guilty on July 26, 2012.