Man slammed with $100K cash bond after crime spree unfolds

…after his arrest
ausage@samoanews.com

A 27-year-old man who escaped from the District Court last week during his initial appearance has been slammed by District Court Judge Fiti Sunia with a $100,000 cash bond, after the government filed additional charges against him.

Police arrested Timata Naea last week, after a long chase by police officers on the west side of the island.

Naea was accused of stealing a vehicle from a family member, and police were contacted for assistance. He was initially charged with stealing, a felony and public peace disturbance, a misdemeanor; as well as with several traffic violations, including reckless driving and careless driving.

The defendant made his initial appearance last week Tuesday where he was ordered by the Court to re-appear on the following day for his preliminary examination. The Court also set his bail at $5,000 under special conditions including no contact with the government witnesses and the victim.

During his PX hearing, on Wednesday, Naea’s attorney Ryan Anderson informed the Court that the defendant wished to waive his right for a PX hearing, after which his case would be bound over to the High Court.

However, when Sunia asked the defendant if he wished to waive his right for a PX hearing and have his case bound over to the High Court, the defendant shook his head and replied, “I didn’t say anything to my lawyer because I don’t understand.”

After the Court heard the defendant’s statement, Sunia then instructed the public defenders’ attorney to take more time to communicate with his client, and his case was rescheduled to the following day — that is Thursday of last week.

On Thursday of last week, Naea was one of the 5 inmates that were brought to the Court for their hearing.

As the Court proceeded with its normal calendar, Naea asked the escorting officer from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) if he could use the bathroom. But instead of using the bathroom, Naea with both his hands cuffed jumped from a window of the bathroom and ran to the back of Fagatogo village.

An off-duty police officer that was at the bus stop that morning saw the defendant walking at the back of the Court House, wearing a TCF red jumpsuit with his hands cuffed, and he contacted the Central Police station for assistance. The Court Marshal was also alerted about the defendant’s whereabouts.

A few minutes later, police officers located the defendant behind the Fagatogo CCCAS church and he was brought back to the Court, where his case was called and he was ordered to reappear on Monday this week for another status hearing.

After Naea’s Court appearance last week, sources told Samoa News that the DPS Criminal Investigating Division would be finalizing their investigation regarding an unresolved matter that also involved the defendant.

On Monday this week, the government filed additional charges against Naea, including first-degree burglary and stealing — both felonies. The defendant was served with a copy of the new charges against him when he appeared in District Court on Monday, and both his hands and feet were cuffed to prevent him from escaping from police again.

According to the government’s case, the owner of Computer World contacted the Tafuna Police Station for assistance, after employees noticed that some of the items from the store were missing and a store surveillance camera confirmed that two males were seen walking inside the store on the night of Oct. 28 around 2 a.m.

Several items mostly electronics devices were allegedly stolen during the burglary, however police were unable to identify the two suspects in the video footage.

However, after Naea was arrested last week, police noticed that he looked just like the suspect that they were looking for from the Computer World burglary case.

After he was informed of his rights, Naea admitted to police that he was tempted by his friend to enter the store and steal some items for them.

The defendant told police that his friend has all the stolen items. Police are now looking for the other suspect in this case, while Naea is now in custody unable to post his $100,000 surety bond.

During his arraignment yesterday, Naea entered a not guilty plea to all felonious charges, and also the misdemeanor charge and several traffic violations. His pretrial conference is now set for Feb. 10, 2018.

Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Woodrow Pengelly while Douglas Fiaui is representing the defendant.

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