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Two jury trials delayed after request from government

reporters@samoanews.com

Two jury trials scheduled for later this month have been rescheduled until next year, as requested                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           by the government and due to the unavailability of Associate Justice Richmond, who will be off island.

SOPI SENIO

The first case is against Sopi Senio who’s charged with first-degree assault on allegations that he struck another man with his vehicle over a land dispute.

Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde stated in her motion that more time is needed because the lawyer who filed this case has moved off island and the new attorney who will take over, needs time to go through the case.

Associate Justice Richmond granted the motion and scheduled a new jury trial for March 2013. Senio had received a plea offer from the government, however he didn’t take it. According to the government’s case, the incident occurred on December 3, 2011 in Leone, when the defendant and the complaining witness, who is his neighbor, had a disagreement over land. Senio is also facing property damage and public peace disturbance charges, which are misdemeanors.

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 remain a law-abiding citizen.

EDWARD AVEGALIO

Edward Avegalio, accused of dismantling a relative’s gravesite and now facing felony property damage, has denied the charges against him. His jury trial was schduled for this month. but is now rescheduled to June 2013, because Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond will be off island.

According to the government’s case, the victim is the widow of the deceased, whose gravesite was allegedly damaged by the defendant.

Court documents state that the investigating officers interviewed four witnesses who told police, they saw Avegalio knocking down poles with a sledgehammer while other men were clearing away the lumber and rebars Avegalio had knocked down.

Avegalio told investigating officers he is the nephew of the owner of the land, on which the gravesite is located; and is quoted in the police affidavit as saying the family did not want anything done to the gravesite until the family had decided. However the family later found out the victim had started constructing an overhead cover to the gravesite.

According to court documents, Avegalio’s family told the carpenters to halt the building of the gravesite. It’s alleged that Avegalio admitted to police he damaged the gravesite by knocking down the cement poles with a 10-pound hammer. Court documents state that damages are estimated at approximately $3,000.



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