Day 2 of Alo drug trial ends with Kruse denying a motion for acquittal
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Prosecutors in Iosefa Alo's jury trial are adamant that the evidence collected during the course of their investigation confirms that the former school teacher gave the glass pipe that contained a white crystalline substance to a Tafuna HS student on Oct. 6, 2017.
Alo, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $20,000 cash bond is facing one count of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, to wit; methamphetamine, punishable by not more than 20 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $20,000, or both.
Prosecuting the case are two females; Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn and Laura Garvey, while Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill is representing Alo.
Yesterday, during Day 2 of Alo's trial, the government called to the witness stand several police officers, including DPS evidence custodian, Off. Jennings, and the student the government claims Alo gave the glass pipe containing methamphetamine to.
The student is identified in the court affidavit as C.K.
During his testimony, C.K. admitted that on Oct. 6, 2017, he brought a glass pipe containing methamphetamine to Tafuna High School (THS). That same date, he smoked the glass pipe with another student on school grounds.
“Who gave you the glass pipe containing methamphetamine?” Prosecutor Garvey asked C.K., who responded, “It was Iosefa Alo who gave me the glass pipe."
C.K. identified Alo, who was sitting next to his attorney, by pointing his finger at him.
Alo smiled when C.K pointed him out. He then turned and whispered something to his attorney.
Garvey asked C.K. to tell the jury what happened on Oct. 6 when the school’s security guard found a glass pipe inside his backpack.
C.K. explained that he was sitting with a friend (also a student at THS) under a tree on campus when the security guard approached them. They were smoking cigarettes.
C.K. said the security guard escorted him and his friend (J.M,) to the office. After they were questioned by the security guard, their school bags were searched and that's when they found a glass pipe, wrapped in a red t-shirt, inside his bag.
Police were immediately notified.
“What happened when police arrived?” Garvey asked.
C.K. said him and J.M. were escorted to the police station for questioning and afterwards, they were taken in to custody at the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC).
C.K. told police that Alo gave him the glass pipe containing meth at his home in Lauli’i.
During cross-examination, defense counsel McNeill asked C.K. whether he knew Alo very well, to which the witness replied, “Yes, we’re from the same village. He’s also my brother’s best friend.”
When asked if Alo was an honest person, C.K. said, “I don’t know.”
McNeill asked C.K to explain to jurors what happened on Oct. 6.
C.K testified that on the day of the alleged incident, he was hanging out with his friend J.M. who was selling marijuana cigarettes.
He said J.M. sold him one marijuana cigarette and in exchange, he gave J.M. a hit of the glass pipe containing meth.
“Did the police mention Alo’s name during the interview?” McNeill asked. C.K answered, “No, I was the one who told police that it was Alo who gave me the glass pipe.”
On the witness stand, C.K. revealed that he was nervous during his interview with police, because this was the first time he had ever been interviewed by cops.
“Who gave you the glass pipe?” McNeill asked.
C.K. said it was Iosefa Alo.
“Did anybody see Alo give you the glass pipe?” McNeill asked.
C.K. said no.
Other witnesses who were called to testify yesterday included DPS evidence custodian Off. Jennings who confirmed to the jury that the same glass pipe containing methamphetamine that was discovered by the security guard inside C.K.’s backpack, is the same glass pipe that was sent off island to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) for testing, which netted positive results for meth.
Another government witness, Det. Vasa Wells, testified that during the interview, Alo admitted that he gave C.K. the glass pipe.
McNeill asked Wells whether there was any video tape or audio tape recording of when Alo made the alleged admission and the witness said no.
McNeill further asked Wells if there was a fingerprint test conducted, and again, the witness replied, no.
Following testimonies by all the government witnesses, the defense argued a motion for acquittal. McNeill said that based on the evidence the government presented to the jury, nothing proves that Alo gave the glass pipe to C.K.
Chief Justice Michael Kruse denied the defense’s motion, saying it's the jury's job to consider all the facts of the case.