NINE ARRESTED ON THANKSGIVING FOR DISTURBING PUBLIC PEACE
The Department of Public Safety arrested nine people on Thanksgiving in connection with disturbing the public peace, including a person caught driving under the influence of alcohol.
Among the nine were three juveniles charged with public peace disturbance and underage drinking. Adults charged with public peace disturbance making their initial appearance in District Court yesterday were— So’onalole Mata’utia, Taumaloto Aiava, Kosetatino Pelenato, Aumaga “Emau” Aloali’i, Sauileone Esekielu and Junior Yandall.
Commander of the Traffic Division, Captain John Cendrowski said there were no accidents on the main highway nor any minor accidents. He thanked the people of American Samoa for keeping Thanksgiving a peaceful holiday this year. “There were many parties, BBQ’s, family events all over the island however following those events, it was a very peaceful and quiet Thanksgiving”.
GOVERNMENT FILES FELONY COUNT AGAINST DEFENDANT IN ASSAULT CASE
Jovian Toloa, one of the three defendants charged on allegations that he and his two co-defendants assaulted a man over a misunderstanding, in addition to public peace disturbance, is facing second degree assault charges and endangering the welfare of a child.
The felony assault count is a class D felony punishable with up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both fine and imprisonment, while the endangering count is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
JUVENILES CHARGED FOR BEING DRUNK ON SCHOOL PREMISES
Six Fagaitua High School students charged with underage drinking made their initial appearance in the District Court yesterday morning. According to the government’s case, police received a call from a school official that six students from Aua were found intoxicated on the school campus.
The police responded and took the students in for questioning. The students were released to the custody of their parents. All six students are reported to be suspended from school.
According to the government’s case, there were alcoholic beverages found in the possession of the students. The six students are represented by Assistant Public Defender Donna Clement while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Terrie Bullinger.
INMATES ACCUSED OF ESCAPING LAST YEAR DENY CHARGES
The two inmates who were charged on allegations that they escaped from the Tafuna Correctional Facility last year, denied the charges against them when they were arraigned in the High Court on Wednesday.
Pouniu Liu and Derek Ropati are each facing one count of escaping from confinement, a class D felony punishable by up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
They are represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White, while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde.
According to the government’s case, on April 13, 2011 Detectives with the Criminal Investigation Division were informed that two inmates had escaped from the Tafuna Correctional Facility.
Court filings say, TCF Sgt Sami Tamau noted that inmates were guided to the prayer service where the counting of inmates were underway to find out that Ropati and Liu were missing. One inmate informed a police guard that Ropati and Liu were seen pulling up barbed wires at the fence behind one of the units.
According to the government’s case, police received tips that Ropati and Liu were at Ropati’s sister’s house. Police responded to the tip to find the inmates there, where they apprehended the pair and took them back into police custody.
Court filings state that the police interviewed Ropati who admitted that Liu had told him that he could not take the long sentence he was facing in jail and wanted to escape. Ropati agreed to escape due to personal reasons and because they had been served with contaminated food at the jail.
In an interview with police, Liu admitted that he escaped from TCF because he wanted to help his family out with the chores at home and get a job and also complained about the bad food served at TCF. Ropati and Liu are both convicted felons serving time at the TCF. Pre-trial conference for the inmates are scheduled for next month.