Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The District Court has set bail at $500 for Alema Tevita, who was taken into custody over the weekend following an incident in Ottoville where he allegedly went to a neighbor’s home with a machete.
Tevita made his initial appearance in court this week and is charged with misdemeanor public peace disturbance (PPD), but Assistant Attorney General Bianca Lherisson says the government may file additional charges as the police investigation continues on allegations of possible trespassing and making verbal threats to his neighbor.
If Tevita is able to post bail, he is ordered not to bother his neighbor or attempt to go on to their property, and he is banned from making any direct or indirect contact with his neighbor. Tevita will appear in court again on Mar. 28.
According to court information, the PPD charge stems from a disagreement between the defendant and his neighbor over the access road used by both families. Tevita contends that the neighbor should not be using the access road because he and his children have spent a lot of time cleaning it.
However, the neighbor claims that the access road is on their family property and therefore, Tevita and his family should not be using the road at all. The neighbor contacted police for assistance after Tevita allegedly went to the neighbor’s house, used a machete in a threatening manner, and hurled verbal threats at an elderly man in the neighbor’s family.
It’s alleged that Tevita’s action followed an alcohol drinking session he had with friends at his home.
A man who was intoxicated and punched a security guard last December at a nightclub in Ili’ili was sentenced by the District Court last week to 18 months probation.
Albert Leulua’iali’i was initially charged with two misdemeanor counts of third degree assault and public peace disturbance. But under a plea agreement, he pled guilty to the PPD, and the assault charge was dismissed.
When District Court Judge Fiti A. Sunia asked the defendant to explain what happened, the reason for his guilty plea, the defendant said he could not recall the events, because he was too drunk and doesn’t know what happened.
According to the government, the defendant caused trouble by bothering patrons of the nightclub, including two female patrons. And as the security guard tried to escort the defendant out of the night club, Leulua'iali'i punched the security guard, who then turned around and punched the defendant, who fell down, and when police arrived they had to get the defendant to stand up so he could be taken into custody for questioning.
In handing down the probation sentence, the court also ordered the defendant to pay a $100 fine. While on probation, the defendant is prohibited from consuming alcohol, and he is to remain a law abiding citizen, and attend and complete alcohol counseling.
A man taken into police custody last week for allegedly using a sharp weapon to stab another man has been released on his own recognizance, by order of the court, because the government was unable to file additional charges against him.
According to court information, Alapati Polima was taken into custody and charged with public peace disturbance and third degree assault — both misdemeanors.
During his initial appearance last week in District Court, the defendant was held without bail to await the government's filing of additional charges this week, as police were still investigating the case at the time.
Polima was in court yesterday for another hearing, but Assistant Attorney General Woodrow Pengelly informed District Court Judge Fiti A. Sunia that the government would not file additional charges and the two misdemeanor counts stand as the only charges.
Without additional charges, Sunia ordered the defendant released on his own recognizance and he set another hearing for Mar. 27.
Among the conditions of release is that the defendant is to not have any direct or indirect contact with the alleged stabbing victim, and he is to be a law-abiding citizen.
To make sure the court’s message is clear, Sunia explained to Polima what no contact with the victim means, as ordered by the court.
For example, the defendant is prohibited from going to the victim’s home, and using social media including Facebook and other modern technology to contact the victim. And when the defendant sees the victim at a public place, Sunia told the defendant, “It’s your responsibility to leave” and stay away from the victim.
According to court information, the incident took place in Tafuna. Witnesses told police that Polima allegedly used a broken piece of glass to stab the victim’s head.
The victim was rushed to the hospital. While the motive of the stabbing is unclear, witnesses told police the incident occurred during a beer drinking session.