Two charged in inmate beating inside TCF ask for court date
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Two of the three inmates charged for their role in the alleged beating of another inmate inside the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) last year have asked the court to set their matters for trial.
Asofa Titio Jr and Reggie Va’avale appeared before Chief Justice Michael Kruse yesterday morning for their pretrial conference. They were represented by Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill while Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn appeared on behalf of the government.
When their cases were called, the defense attorney informed the court that they have received discovery, along with an offer from the government. However, his clients still maintain their innocence, therefore, the court was asked to set both matters for trial.
Titio Jr. and Va’avale along with co-defendant Manu Lefatia are each charged with second degree assault and felonious restraint, both class D felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to five years, a fine of $5,000 or both. They are also each charged with third degree assault, a class A misdemeanor.
The government alleges that the three defendants assaulted the victim by punching him in the face, kicking him and strangling him with a steel chain inside Lefatia’s holding cell.
DISTRICT COURT CASES
Twelve months probation was the sentence handed down by the court yesterday for Emil Himphill, who pled guilty to interfering with an arrest and underage drinking.
Himphill was charged in two separate cases, 7 charges total. In exchange for her guilty pleas, the remaining charges were dismissed.
The two cases, as noted by Judge Elvis P. Patea, occurred only two weeks apart, back in Sept. 2018.
As part of her sentence, Himphill is fined a total of $250 for both cases, to be deducted from her posted bond. She is also to remain sober, is subject to random testing, and must attend and complete an alcohol counseling program.
PETE 'IOAPO' PETERS
For his guilty plea to resisting arrest, Pete "Ioapo" Peters has been sentenced to 12 months probation and ordered to attend and successfully complete an alcohol counseling program.
Furthermore, he is to remain sober and pay a $200 fine which will be deducted from his bond.
Peters was initially facing four criminal charges, including another count of resisting arrest, third degree assault, and public peace disturbance. But under a plea agreement with the government, which was accepted by the court yesterday, Peters pled guilty to one count of resisting arrest. The remaining charges were dismissed.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred Sept. 15, 2018 whereby Peters admitted that he ran from police.
A man who was charged for choking another man on a bus has been sentenced to 12 months probation and ordered to pay a fine of $150 within 45 days.
Ripine Tuisauta appeared in District Court yesterday morning for his pretrial conference where he pled guilty to third degree assault. In return, the government dismissed the remaining charge of public peace disturbance.
The charges against Tuisauta stem from an incident that occurred Oct. 16, 2018 whereby he choked a man that he suspected had hurt his nephew.
Assistant Public Defender Anna Whiles asked for a probated sentence, saying this was an isolated incident, and her client is a first time offender, married with kids, and gainfully employed.
When given the chance to address the court, Tuisauta apologized for his actions and said he has already made up with the victim, and he had paid for the victim's ride back home that day. Tuisauta said he was wrong and he promised never to appear in court again.
Judge Elvis P. Patea said the court will take into account the fact that Tuisauta has a clean record, not even a traffic citation. But, he reminded the defendant, "as a 53, 54-year-old, the last thing you need to be doing is taking the law into your own hands… You will end up facing the consequences."
Judge Patea said the court "expects" Tuisauta to "do well on probation".
The government's case against Sangster Loia is set for a jury trial on Apr. 11
Loia is charged with public peace disturbance, third degree assault, and resisting arrest for an incident that occurred last month in Tafuna, where Loia is alleged to have been armed with a 4ft metal paddle while walking in Nuuuli with several NVTHS students following a fight near Lions Park.
Loia is alleged to have refused to give up the paddle after cops asked for it, and the government claims that Loia and a cop got into a scuffle that resulted in both men being on the ground.
Loia is out on a $500 bond