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Man released from custody after only misdemeanor charges filed

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — 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, Vincent Tagaloa was taken into custody and charged with public peace disturbance and third degree assault, both misdemeanors.

During his initial appearance in District Court at the beginning of last week, the defendant was held without bail to await the government's filing of additional charges before the end of the week, as police were still investigating the case at the time.

Tagaloa was in court last Thursday for another hearing, but Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell informed District Court Judge Fiti A. Sunia that the government would not be filing 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 Oct. 15.

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 Tagaloa 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 Tagaloa 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.