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reporters@samoanews.com

 CURTIS YANDALL SCHEDULED TO ENTER INTO PLEA DEAL TODAY

The government’s plea offer to Curtis Yandall was filed with the court yesterday and the defendant is scheduled to appear in High Court today to enter his guilty plea.

The plea hearing will be presided over by Chief Justice Michael Kruse.  Yandall is charged in connection with the death of a young man in October 2010, and is facing manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide —both felonies.

Yandall, who is from Pago Pago has been denying the charges, which are in connection with the death of Darren Smith Tualaulelei in October 2010. He is out on a surety bond of $7,500.

According to the government’s case the victim Tualaulelei fell off a truck that was driven by the defendant.

Court filings state that when police questioned Yandall he said he was drinking with the victim and other boys and he was unaware that Tualaulelei was in the back of his truck, until he fell off the vehicle.

In his testimony to police, Yandall said he panicked when he saw that the victim was injured, but he was still breathing and was making sounds like he was snoring.

Yandall told police that he didn’t want to take the victim home because Darren’s parents might think he made him drink alcohol; and he did not want to take the victim to the hospital, because the hospital might report the matter to police and he would be arrested for making the victim drink, according to the court documents.

Court documents state that the victim was admitted to the hospital on October 29, 2010; and the Surgical Clinic doctor, Faiaoga Tosi, said the victim suffered a broken collar bone, and cracks on the base and left side of the skull. Seven days later the victim died.

The manslaughter charge carries a jail term of up to seven years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both, while the criminally negligent homicide is punishable up to five years in jail and a fine of $5,000 or both. Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna.

FATHER ACCUSED OF THREATENING DAUGHTER WITH GUN HAS PLEA OFFER

The government has made a plea offer to a man accused of threatening his daughter at knifepoint and then with a gun. Samoa News is withholding the defendant’s name to protect the victim’s identity.

The defendant was scheduled to have his pre-trial conference yesterday in court, however defense counsel in this matter, Assistant Public Defender Mike White asked the court for a brief continuance, which was granted by Chief Justice Michael Kruse. Kruse rescheduled another hearing in this matter for next week Tuesday.

The defendant is out on bail of $3,200 and is facing unlawful use of a weapon, third degree assault, unlawful possession of a firearm, and public peace disturbance charges.

According to the government’s case the father was upset at his daughter when someone called his cell phone. He asked the daughter who it was, and she said she didn’t know.

Police have confiscated the rifle and the knife that were allegedly used during the incident.

SOPI SENIO PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE CONTINUED

The government’s case against Sopi Senio facing first-degree assault on allegations that he struck another man with his vehicle over a land dispute has been continued upon the request of Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag who is prosecuting.

Poag said he has yet to interview the defense witnesses and Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond granted the request.

According to the government’s case, the incident occurred on December 3, 2011 in Leone. Senio, who is in his 50s, is also facing property damage and public peace disturbance charges, which are misdemeanors. 

According to the government’s case, the defendant and the complaining witness, who is his neighbor, had a disagreement over land.

Senio is denying the charges, and is out on bail of $25,000. As a condition of his release the defendant was ordered not to make any direct or indirect contact with the complaining witness and to be a law-abiding citizen.

The matter is now scheduled for another pre-trial conference on July 27, 2012.



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