COURT REPORT: Three more assault cases on the docket
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The 35-year-old man from Tafuna accused of using a metal tool to assault another man has been arrested and charged with second degree assault, a felony, punishable by not more than 5 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of not more than $5,000 or both; and two misdemeanor charges, unlawful use of a weapon and public peace disturbance.
The charges against Filipo Evalu stem from an incident that occurred two weeks ago in Tafuna, where he allegedly used a metal tool from his mechanic shop to assault and severely injure another man.
According to the police report, Evalu and the victim got into a disagreement regarding a vehicle that was given to Evalu to fix. In the middle of the verbal disagreement, the victim allegedly assaulted Evalu by punching him in the face causing Evalu to fall.
The victim then walked back to his car that was parked a few feet away from the area where the alleged assault took place.
However, when Evalu stood up, he grabbed a metal pipe that was lying beside him and followed the victim. Evalu allegedly struck the victim’s head from behind causing an open cut on the left side of the victim’s head. The victim ran.
Evalu made his initial appearance in the District Court this week, where he waived his right to a preliminary examination hearing.
His next court appearance is today at 9 a.m. in the High Court, where he is expected to enter a not guilty plea to the charges.
Evalu’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender, Bob Stuart, asked the court for a reduction in bail — from $5,000 to $1,000. Stuart told the court that Evalu is a hard working man, and he is the only member of his family who works to provide for his wife and two children. Stuart said his client is not a flight risk; and he has no intention of leaving his family.
The prosecutor opposed the defense’s motion, saying the bail set by the court is the right amount for the offense the defendant is accused of committing.
The defense motion was denied and bail remains at $5,000; and because he is unable to post bond, Evalu remains in custody at the TCF.
The court has accepted the plea agreement between the government and Ieremia Valoaga, who is accused of stabbing a man with a knife during a drinking session earlier last year. Valoaga, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $20,000 cash bond appeared in High Court last week for a Change of Plea hearing. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill, while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Doug Lowe
Valoaga, 28, was accused of stabbing a man with a knife, following a verbal argument during a drinking session at the victim’s home in Tafuna. He was facing one count of first degree assault, however in a plea deal with the government, accepted by the court, he entered a guilty plea to second degree assault, which was amended from the original count in this matter.
According to court documents, the government claims that on Jan. 28, 2019, Valoaga was at the victim’s house for a weekend party. Valoaga and the victim are very close friends. It was near the end of the party when a verbal argument between Valoaga and another man started, and Valoaga became angry with the man.
The victim then stepped up and tried to calm the verbal argument between Valoaga and the other man. Out of nowhere, the man punched Valoaga in the face. Valoaga thought that it was the victim who punched him. Valoaga walked to his vehicle and grabbed a knife. He then walked to the victim and stabbed him in the shoulder and his back.
Court filings say the wounded man was taken to the LBJ Hospital where he was hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for 3 days.
Sentencing is set for May 8th, 2020.
Taua Alovaa, who pled guilty to third degree assault last week — a charge amended from assault in the first degree – was sentenced to time served, which was 4 months.
Associate Justice Fiti Sunia handed down sentencing in this case last week. During the plea agreement hearing, upon questioning by the Sunia, the defendant admitted pulling a knife on the victim.
Sunia asked the defendant if he agrees that it’s unfair that he was the only one charged in the altercation, and if the complaining witness should have also been charged, and the defendant replied “yes”.
According to the government’s case, police received a report by a complaining witness that the defendant had stabbed him in the hand, while accusing him of stealing items from his house and also attempted to stab him in his leg, but missed.
Court documents state that the Emergency Medical Services treated the injuries the victim sustained from the attack, and it’s alleged the injuries were not serious. The incident took place in front of a store in Tafuna.
Police confiscated the knife from the defendant’s residence, and it was turned into the police evidence room.
The court ordered Alovaa not to go near the victim’s house and if he encounters him in public, he must walk away from him peacefully.