Jury trial is Nov 4 for alleged cop killer Siaumau Jr.
Three years after the government charged Siaumau Siaumau Jr. in the shooting death of DPS Detective Lusila Brown on July 22, 2010 in front of the temporary court house in Malaloa, Associate Justice Lyle L. Richmond has finally scheduled a jury trial for November 4, 2014.
Siaumau Jr. faces numerous charges including first degree murder, two counts of attempted murder in the first degree on distinct victims, three counts of assault in the first degree against distinct victims, three counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, two faculty distinct counts of unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm, and public peace disturbance.
Although the jury trial date was announced last Friday, Deputy AG Mitzie Jessop says there are “ongoing negotiations” in this case. During the status hearing last month, Richmond noted that this matter has been pending in the court and it needs to be moved.
Jessop said the government is “eager to move forward,” and pointed out that there are several motions that have been filed by the government the court is yet to rule on. Richmond responded by saying the rulings cannot be made because the court is yet to hear the arguments on these motions.
Assistant Public Defender Mike White who is representing the defendant confirmed with the court that negotiations are ongoing in this case.
A month after the incident, the government sought the death penalty for Siaumau Jr., should he be convicted of first-degree murder, given that sufficient circumstances existed to justify the imposition of the death penalty. However, Jessop later moved to withdraw the death penalty, noting that after independently reviewing all the factors in the case, as well as taking into consideration advice from former Governor Togiola Tulafono and factoring in the court's order to pay $260,000 to the Public Defender’s Office to defend the case, the Attorney General's Office decided withdrawing the ASG's intent to seek the death penalty was the best course of action in this case.
As reported earlier, the government has spent more than $20,000 on this matter. The additional $260,000 — which is the cost to proceed with the death penalty — is just too much for the government to bear, said the Deputy AG.
Meanwhile, Richmond has scheduled a status hearing for this case in January 2014, to see if the government and defense have reached an agreement. Otherwise, the jury trial will proceed as scheduled.
The incident occurred when current Chief Election Officer Tuaolo Manaia Fruean was Police Commissioner and it was at that time that Tuaolo initiated the move to have local cops armed.
Last month, Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga approved the purchase of firearms for police officers. Current DPS Commissioner William Haleck told Samoa News previously that the Hawai’i Police Department has donated their guns for the local police force.