ALLEGED KNIFE ATTACKER CHARGED WITH FELONY ASSAULT
Ioane Logovi’i is now facing first degree assault, in addition to a misdemeanor count of public peace disturbance. Logovi’i was arrested earlier this week on allegations of stabbing another man in his hand.
The additional felony count was filed against the defendant yesterday and he’s now held on $10,000 bail. According to the government’s case, police received a report from the victim that he was stabbed in the hand by the defendant.
The victim told the police that he was sitting with his friends in front of a store in Fagatogo, when the suspect confronted him and accused him of stealing items from his house.
Court filings state that the victim told the defendant that he did not steal anything from his house; however Logovi’i got angry and stabbed him in his hand and also attempted to stab him in his leg but missed. According to the government’s case, Emergency Medical Services treated the victim’s injuries and it’s alleged that the injuries were not serious.
A witness told the police that the defendant accused the victim of stealing items from him and grabbed the victim by his shirt and threatened to fight with him, while holding a pocket knife. The police have confiscated the knife from the defendant’s residence, and it has been turned into the police evidence room.
The defendant is scheduled to have his preliminary examination hearing next week Monday, where District Court Judge John Ward will determine if the government’s case has sufficient evidence to have this case bound over to High Court.
FORMER ASG EMPLOYEE HAS DENIED 16 CRIMINAL CHARGES
Former government employee, Fiapapalagi Eteuati Letuli, who is charged with eight counts of stealing and eight counts of forgery on allegations that she had forged government checks from the American Samoa Economic Stimulus Recovery office (ASESRO), was in High Court on Thursday.
Ms. Letuli denied the charges against her and also waived her right to the reading of her charges, through Assistant Public Defender Mike White. The matter is now set for Pre-trial conference.
According to the government’s case, the investigation against Letuli was launched at the request of ASESRO Director Pat Galea’i earlier this year, in light of allegations that the defendant had forged and cashed ASG payroll checks made out to another ASESRO employee, Gale Clarke, who was on leave without pay.
Court filings state that the Director confronted the defendant, given that she’s the one responsible for payroll checks.
It’s alleged that the defendant admitted to submitting time sheets and sick leave slips for Clarke, and signing her name, knowing that Clarke was on medical leave.
Court filings say that Letuli admitted she stole the money in order to pay loans, church and family obligations.
The investigator also spoke to Clarke who said she was on leave between January and July 2011 and did not return to American Samoa until late August 2011.
Clarke said she was on medical leave without pay and she did not consent for the defendant to process any paperwork to receive payroll checks, nor did she give the defendant permission to sign her name to cash the checks.
The government claims there are a total of eight checks issued, beginning January 14, 2011 through August 5, 2011 which totaled $7,860.65.
FIREMAN SENTENCING POSTPONED
Chief Justice Michael Kruse has postponed the sentencing of a firefighter who pled guilty in connection with the death of his one-year old son in a traffic incident two years ago. Kruse told the parties in this case that the court is awaiting research being conducted by the probation office for cases such as this.
Iuliano Tavale of Leone, a fireman with the local Fire Bureau under the Department of Public Safety, was charged with Manslaughter and Homicide by Vehicle, however in a plea agreement with the government he pleaded guilty to the amended charge of criminally negligent homicide, a class D felony punishable up to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $5,000 or both fine and jail term, while the government asked to have the remaining count dismissed.
According to the plea agreement that was read in court, by Tavale’s guilty plea he admitted that on July 25, 2010, he failed to secure his son in a child safety seat while driving a truck, that he tried to push his son back into a seated position and jerked his steering wheel causing the child to hit his head on the dashboard.
As a result the child sustained fatal injuries and the defendant did not immediately take his son to the emergency room for treatment.
According to the plea, the defendant further admitted that his son died on July 26, 2010. The proximate cause of his son’s death is that he failed to secure his son in a child safety seat and failed to seek medical treatment immediately thereafter.
According to the government’s case, this incident came to light when CID Captain Lavata’i Ta’ase Sagapolutele received a written report from the LBJ Emergency Room’s Dr. James Marrone, regarding a suspected case of child abuse. Kruse scheduled the new sentencing date for this matter on January 25, 2013.