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Court Report

Translated by Samoa News staff


Sentencing for Loimata Mika has been set for early next month after the defendant pled guilty to second degree burglary under a plea agreement which was accepted by the High Court during a change of plea hearing last Friday.

Loimata Mika was initially charged with one felony count of first-degree burglary and two misdemeanor counts of third degree assault and trespassing. However, under a plea agreement, the government amended the burglary charge to second-degree assault — which is a lesser felony charge — and the misdemeanor charges were dismissed.

Mika admitted that in the evening of Aug. 1 of last year, he entered a home and headed straight to the bed where a female was sleeping. Additionally, the defendant touched the woman in a sexual manner and she woke up screaming and yelling at the defendant to get out, which Mika did.

The plea also calls for the government and defense to request the court to sentence the defendant to probation, but the final decision rests with the court.

Mika remains in custody and his change of plea hearing was presided over by Chief Justice Michael Kruse, who was flanked on the bench by associate judges Fa’amausili Pomele  and Muasau T. Tofili.

Assistant public defender Michael White is the attorney for the defendant, prosecuting is assistant attorney general Gerald Murphy.


The High Court has continued to later this month, another change of plea hearing for Melvin Eteuati, while the government and defense have been directed to provide further details on the restitution that Eteuati is required to pay under a plea agreement, for the two separate cases with which he is charged.

In the first case, Eteuati, who remains in custody, is charged with felony stealing and second-degree burglary — also a felony. For the second case, he is charged with felony stealing, second degree burglary and misdemeanor third degree property damage.

In both cases, the defendant broke into homes.

Under the plea agreement, the defendant pled guilty to second degree burglary, from the first case, in which he admitted that on Sept. 18 last year, he broke into a home and stole the homeowner’s belongings, including a laptop, cell phone, iPad, passport and a bag which contained $500.

According to court information, the defendant spent the $500, while the property he stole was hidden in a location where police were able to retrieve the items after the defendant was questioned.

In the second case, the defendant also broke into a home, where he damaged family property, which the plea agreement says is valued at $1,180. 

Under the plea agreement, the defendant is required to pay restitution of $500 and $1,180.

However, Kruse says it’s difficult for the court to direct the defendant to pay $1,180 from the second case — as the court believes the payment will be hard for Eteuati to meet, and when the defendant does not later pay down the fine, then the government would turn around and move to reinstate the charges — from the second case — dismissed under the plea agreement.

Kruse directed the attorneys for both sides to meet again to discuss the plea agreement, as well as the $1,180 from the second case, and provide for the court additional information.

Also part of the plea agreement, is that the government will not file charges in a third case, where the defendant escaped from TCF officers, while at the District Court in January.