Court Report

VICTIM IN HAMMER CASE DIES, ASG TO AMEND CHARGE TO MURDER

 

The Attorney General’s office has confirmed the government will be filing first degree murder in the government’s case against Matulino Tauali’i. Police Commissioner William Haleck confirmed with Samoa News the victim in this case died yesterday morning.

 

The victim, who fell unconscious since the incident last weekend, has been on life support. Tauali’i was arraigned in the High Court on Wednesday on one count of first degree assault, however Chief Criminal Prosecutor, Assistant AG Camille Philippe told Samoa News that the first degree murder charge will be filed today against the defendant.

 

According to the government’s case, the defendant allegedly struck the victim on his head with a hammer. Court filings say the victim was in a drinking session in Fagaalu with Tauali'i when the argument occurred over a girl. The government alleges the defendant admitted to police that he had struck the victim.

 

MAN IN LATEST DRUG CASE CHARGED WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE

 

Nu’usili Suani Jr., who was arrested last week in connection with the largest marijuana shipment yet confiscated in the territory, allegedly admitted to police he travelled to San Francisco in August to “order his marijuana from a dispensary and packed the marijuana himself,” according to court filings.

 

Suani will appear in the District Court today, on two counts of unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Each count carries a jail term of up to 20 years and /or a fine of up to $20,000. Suani is held on bail of $30,000.

 

According to the government’s case, the DPS Vice and Narcotics Division was contacted by Customs Agents regarding a shipment of marijuana that came through a container. It's alleged Customs Agents were conducting inspection of incoming cargo when canine Grace alerted near two brown drums which had the defendant’s name on them.

 

Later on, the defendant appeared to claim the items and prior to Customs Agents opening the drums, they asked Suani what was inside. It is alleged the defendant stated the drums contained candies and diapers.

 

Court filings say the defendant stated he left the containers for his brother to ship down to him.

 

Customs Agents opened both drums and found nine bags containing leaves, which were later tested positive as marijuana.

 

TITIO TITIO JR ENTERS INTO A PLEA AGREEMENT WITH GOVERNMENT

 

A man facing charges of stealing, property damage second degree and underage possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages has entered into a plea agreement with the government. Titio Titio Jr last week pled guilty to stealing and property damage while the remaining count was dismissed. Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing in this case later this week.

 

According to the government’s case, police received a call from a woman that someone had broken into her vehicle parked at the theater in Nu’uuli. Police responded and were told by the woman she saw Titio near where her car had been broken into.

 

Items removed from the car included a mini iPad, an iPod and an android phone. A witness told police she was with the defendant the night in question. Court filings say, the witness told police he and the defendant all pitched in to buy beer and claimed it was the defendant’s mother who bought beer for her son Titio and other boys.

 

Police were told after consuming the alcohol, the defendant and his friends walked to the theater where the defendant ripped the plastic cover that was on the vehicle’s window and climbed inside the car, removing the mini ipad, ipod and the android phone, which had a combined value of $1,200.

 

During the plea agreement hearing, the defendant admitted to removing the items from the vehicle parked in Nu’uuli.

 

MAN ACCUSED OF STEALING $40K WILL FIGHT HIS CASE BEFORE JURY

 

A man accused of stealing more than $40,000 from the Tri Marine office at the Samoa Tuna Processor’s plant in Atu’u— Filoiali’i Mata’u of Pago Pago — is facing charges of first degree burglary, stealing and property damage second degree.

 

He will be fighting his case in a jury trial next year February.

 

Mata’u is held on bail of $40,000 and is represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Tony Graf.

 

According to the government’s case, on June 27, 2013 police were contacted by an employee of Samoa Tuna Processors about a burglary wherein $41,000 cash for the company’s payroll went missing.

 

During the investigation into the missing money, police were told that a former employee of the company was seen driving in a rental car and wearing new clothes, yet he had been terminated two weeks prior to the incident.

 

On July 8, 2013 court filings say, police approached the defendant who allegedly admitted that two weeks after he was terminated, he stole the safe out of the company’s office. The government further claims the defendant told police he opened the safe and found $23,000 after which he threw away the safe, the hammer and the screwdriver he used. The police located the safe, where the defendant stated he had left it.

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