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Dispute over control of access road leads to arrest for PPD — further charges may be filed

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The court has set bail at $500 for Filisi Tautua, who was taken into custody last week following an incident in Happy Valley in the Tafuna area where he is alleged to have gone to his neighbor’s home with a knife, and also challenged people in the neighborhood to a fight.

Tautua, who made his initial appearance in court this week, is charged with misdemeanor public peace disturbance (PPD).

The prosecutor told the court that the government may file additional charges, as the police investigation continues on allegations of possible trespassing and making verbal threats.

If Tautua is able to post bail, he is ordered not to bother his neighbor or attempt to set foot on his property. He is also not to make any direct or indirect contact with him.

Tautua will appear in court again on June 9th.

According to court information, the PPD charge stems from a disagreement between Tautua and his neighbor over the access road used by both families. Tautua contends that the neighbor should not be using the access road because he and his children have spent a lot of time cleaning it.

Not only have they planted trees and plants to make it look good but also maintain it by cleaning it everyday.

But the neighbor claims that the access road is on their family property and therefore, Tautua and his family should not be using the road at all. The neighbor contacted police for assistance after Tautua allegedly came to his house and used a knife in a threatening manner, in addition to making verbal threats to his elderly uncle who questioned Tautua about his action.

It’s alleged that Tautua’s actions came after a drinking session he had with friends at his home. When interviewed by police, Tautua admitted that he had a knife and was making threatening statements to people in the neighborhood. He said he was just trying to prove a point to his neighbor, but he had no intention of hurting anyone.

Tautua is not new to the court as in 2011 he was sentenced by the District Court to 24 months probation after being convicted of third degree assault and property damage, both class A misdemeanors.