Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — One of the two defendants arrested for assaulting a taxi driver last year in Vaitogi has entered into a plea agreement with the government.
Fereti Levi, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $10,000 cash bond, appeared in High Court last week for a Change of Plea (COP) hearing. He was represented by Public Defender Michael White, while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.
Levi, 26, was originally charged with one count of second degree assault and stealing, both class D felonies, punishable by not more than five years imprisonment, a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.
However, in a plea agreement with the government last week, Levi pled guilty to second degree assault. With his guilty plea, Levi admits that on Oct. 12, 2017 he assaulted another man by punching him in the face multiple times, which caused the man to hit the concrete floor, and cause injuries to his head.
Levi is remanded to custody to await sentencing, scheduled for Jan. 29, 2019.
The 29-year-old man from Tafuna accused of using a rock to assault another man has been arrested and charged with second degree assault, a felony, punishable by not more than 5 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of not more than $5,000 or both; and two misdemeanor charges: unlawful use of a weapon and public peace disturbance.
The charges against Tagaloa stem from an incident that occurred last month in Pago Pago, during which he allegedly used a rock to assault and severely injure another man.
According to the police report, Tagaloa and the victim had gotten into a verbal argument during a drinking session. The victim allegedly pushed Tagaloa, causing him to fall down on the rocks.
Tagaloa stood up with a rock and allegedly struck the victim in the face and on the left side of his head, causing serious injuries.
Tagaloa made his initial appearance in District Court last week, where he waived his right to a preliminary examination hearing.
His next court appearance is this Friday at 9:00 a.m. in the High Court, where he is expected to enter a not guilty plea to the charges.
Tagaloa’s attorney, Public Defender, Michael White, asked the court for a reduction in bail from $5,000 to $1,000. White said Tagaloa is a hard working man, and he is the only member of his family who works to provide for his wife and two children. He said his client is not a flight risk, as he has no intention of leaving his family.
Prosecutor Laura Garvey opposed the defense’s motion, saying that bail set by the court is the right amount for the offense the defendant is accused of.
The defense's motion was denied and bail remains at $5,000; and because he is unable to post bond, Tagaloa remains in custody at the TCF.
A 42-year-old who was arrested last week for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is now charged with felony driving, a class D felony, punishable by not more than five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
The government claims that Anesi Mapu’s vehicle was pulled over by police during a traffic stop last week, because he was not wearing a seatbelt. When Mapu was being informed about why he was stopped, cops could smell alcohol emitting from his breath.
When asked for his driver’s license, Mapu told police his driver’s license was suspended by the court for 6 months after he was found guilty of a DUI in the middle of this year.
Mapu is scheduled to appear in District Court next week for his preliminary examination (PX) on the felony charge.
He is represented by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell.
Mapu is out on a $500 surety bond.