Taputimu assault case lands one man in jail, another man sent to NZ ... for medical treatment
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 30-year-old man accused of assaulting another man in Taputimu by using a metal wrench to strike the victim’s head was arrested last week and made his initial appearance before District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea.
Simon Lagofa’atasi Milo is charged with one count of second degree assault, a class D felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
Bond is set at $10,000.
If Milo is able to post bond, he is ordered to remain law abiding, not leave or attempt to leave the territory without the court’s permission, and he is not to make any direct or indirect contact with the government’s witnesses, including the victim.
Assistant Public Defender, Ryan Anderson asked the court to reduce his client’s bond to $5,000, arguing that Milo is not a flight risk, and he has no prior criminal record.
Prosecutor, Jason Mitchell opposed the motion, saying Milo is a U.S citizen and he’s on island visiting family. The government’s attorney believes Milo is a flight risk and he must by kept in prison until his case is resolved.
Judge Patea agreed, and denied the motion to reduce bond.
Anderson then informed the court that his client wishes to waive his rights to a preliminary hearing, and the case is now bound over to High Court where Milo will appear this morning for arraignment.
According to the government, it was around 1:42 a.m on Aug. 22, 2019 that a male phoned the DPS Tafuna Substation to report that they were transporting to the LBJ Hospital, a male who was assaulted in Taputimu.
The victim is a 32-year-old man from Pago Pago.
A few hours later, around 3:28 a.m., a female, who is also the main witness, walked into the Tafuna Substation to make a written statement regarding the matter.
According to the government, the witness and Milo picked up the victim from Pago Pago, and they ended up at the witness’s Taputimu home for a drinking session.
A little after midnight, the female homeowner got into a verbal argument with the victim. The argument started after the victim accused the female of doing drugs (meth).
At this time, Milo took a bathroom break; but the argument between the female witness and the victim escalated.
The female witness told police that when Milo returned from the restroom, she saw him holding a steel wrench and striking the victim with it, once on the head.
The victim was immediately transported to the hospital via a private vehicle, and en route to meet up with an EMS unit.
Investigators apprehended Milo from his cousin’s home in Taputimu — where the alleged incident occurred — and he was transported to the Leone Substation for questioning.
Milo confirmed to police what the main witness told police. He further told investigators that the victim is his female cousin’s co-worker.
According to Milo’s statement to police, they were enjoying themselves and having fun at the house, until later on in the night, a verbal argument erupted between the victim and his female cousin. The victim accused his cousin of doing drugs. Milo said he ignored the argument by searching for songs on YouTube.
According to Milo, the victim and his cousin continued to argue and he eventually got up and went to the restroom. He said that when he returned, the argument got louder and he heard the victim shouting profanities to his female cousin.
He said he feared that his cousin was being harmed by the victim’s actions, so he grabbed a metal wrench that was on the table and struck the victim’s head from behind.
Afterwards, Milo said, the victim sat back down but he fell forward off the chair.
He told police that he immediately froze up and regretted what had he had done to the victim. Milo said his female cousin flipped the victim over on his back and started mouth-to-mouth in tandem with chest compressions.
During that time, the victim was snoring and groaning, blood was dripping from the his head area because of a laceration on the top part of his skull.
Milo told investigators that when the victim was transported to the hospital, he was still shocked about what had happened and started walking to find the police station. He said he got lost on the way, so he returned home. In the morning, he told his female cousin to contact the police station to have him picked up.
According to a doctor’s report, the victim sustained a depressed skull fracture which required 9 staples to close. Moreover, the victim was also referred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for further observation.
A family member who spoke to Samoa News confirmed that the victim was transported to New Zealand last Friday for further medical treatment.