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Court Report



When Arthur Blake was in court last week for his pre-trial conference, it appeared there had been no effort by the government to have the defendant undergo a mental evaluation since his arrest on June 23, 2013, surrounding the brutal attack which led to the death of Lopeti Lihua, a Tongan National. The incident occurred behind the golf course in Ili’ili.


Blake is charged with first degree murder which carries the penalty of death, or life in prison without being eligible for probation or parole until serving a minimum of 40 years.


Chief Justice Michael Kruse ordered the government to expedite a mental evaluation for  Blake, and said if the government fails to do so, the court will move to dismiss this case. Kruse pointed out the court ordered a mental health evaluation when the defendant was arraigned, however to date nothing has been done.


The evaluation is conducted to determine if the defendant is competent to stand trial and make his own decisions.


Blake, who’s held on bail of $500,000, is scheduled to reappear in court next month on the status of his evaluation.


Court filings say the wife of the deceased informed police that she was surprised when her seven year old son came running into the house covered in blood, and when she ran outside her husband was lying there face down and motionless while Blake took off on foot. It's alleged that Blake had struck the defendant with a crowbar which landed on his head, causing his death.




A 20-year-old man facing charges in a burglary case will be sentenced next month, as he has entered into a plea agreement with the government. Kerry Naoalava was charged with second degree burglary and stealing on allegations that he had stolen speakers from a home last year in January.


In the signed plea agreement that was read in open court earlier this month, Naoalava pleaded guilty to the burglary count and upon his plea of guilt, the government moved for the court to dismiss the stealing charge. In his guilty plea, the defendant admitted that between January 13-15, 2013 he unlawfully entered a home by breaking a window to gain entrance, had gone into a bedroom and taken off with speakers.


The defendant further admitted that after stealing the speakers he sold them to his friend Johnny Patu. The defendant stated he was not allowed by the family to enter their home.


Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond has accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing on this matter for Apr. 25, 2014.




The High Court has accepted the plea agreement made between Alesana Peko and the government. Peko, a Port Administration employee who was serving 90 days in jail since October 2013 for felony driving, was out on a work release program. Upon returning to jail on New Year's Eve, he was allegedly caught trying to smuggle marijuana joints into jail. He pled guilty to escape while on work release.


As part of his sentence in the felony driving case, he had been released from jail to work from 7a.m.- 5p.m and the new drug case against him came to light on Dec. 31, 2013 when, during a procedural search of returning inmates into the jail, correction officers discovered two half joints in the defendant’s pockets.


The government’s case claimed that Peko, who works at Airport Maintenance, was released from jail for work, however information relayed to the police by a friend of Peko’s family uncovered that from work Peko would go to his residence in Pago Pago.


The defendant was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, marijuana and escape while on work release, which are both felonies. However, this week Peko pled guilty to the escape charge, and upon his plea of guilt the government moved to dismiss the remaining charge.


 The escape count is a class D felony, which carries a jail term of up to five years and /or a fine of up to $5,000. The plea agreement was accepted and the defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on Apr. 27, 2014.