CJ issues bench warrant for man in alleged kidnap incident
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Chief Justice Michael Kruse has issued a bench warrant — without bail — to arrest Tautua Letasi, after he failed to appear in High Court last Friday for an Order to Show Cause (OSC) hearing.
Letasi, who has several outstanding warrants in his name, was scheduled to appear in High Court last Friday for his OSC hearing, for violating conditions of his release and for contempt of a court order.
Public Defender Michael White appeared on behalf of Letasi, while Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn prosecuted for the government. Letasi was not in court when his case was called.
“Where is your client?” Kruse asked White. The public defender said his staff is having a hard time trying to locate him.
Kruse told counsel White that one of several conditions for Letasi’s release on bond is to stay in close contact with his attorney or the office of the Public Defender. He then issued a bench warrant for Letasi's arrest.
The government attorney confirmed to Samoa News last week that police are still looking for Letasi. The search has been on since last month, when the court issued a signed warrant for his arrest.
According to the government, the arrest warrant is based on the allegation that Letasi stole a rental vehicle and used it to kidnap a 21-year-old female.
The alleged kidnap was reported to police on Nov. 1, 2018 by the aunty of the 21-year-old girl, who told police that Letasi was the one who stole her rental vehicle and allegedly kidnapped her niece.
Police were unable to locate Letasi at his home when they went looking for the stolen rental vehicle; however, police did arrest two males who were at the gate which leads up to Letasi’s residence, after cops discovered illegal drugs in their possession.
They are: Soo Savelio, an overstayer from Samoa; and Sharnel Sagote. Both men have been charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine, and they are still in custody unable to post a $5,000 surety bond.