Ads by Google Ads by Google

Dispute over a rental unit on the west side lands two women in court

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Two females were arrested last week and charged with disturbing the public peace.

Lei Apelu, 30, and Ruth Talaleu, 29, made their initial appearances in District Court last week, where Judge Elvis P. Patea ordered their release under certain conditions.

Apelu and Talaleu are represented by Assistant Public Defender, Bob Stuart, while ASG Attorney Jason Mitchell is prosecuting.

Stuart asked the court to release both women on their own recognizance, saying they’re both first time offenders and they don’t pose a risk to the community. Mitchell echoed the defense’s motion, saying the government is not opposed to release.

Conditions of release are as follows: no direct or indirect contact with the victim; remain law abiding; make all court appearances; and stay in close contact with their attorney.

According to the government, on Feb. 5th, a woman called the Tafuna Substation to report that her home had been broken into — and damaged — by unknown persons.

The victim told police that she, her daughter, and a friend went to town to shop in the morning and when they returned home, the house door was broken and all her property, including personal belongings, were outside in the garage.

She said she asked the landlord’s daughter if she knew anything about what happened  and her response was, “I don’t know.” According to the victim, she has been renting there for 5 years and she doesn’t know what made the landlord’s daughter do this to her.

While cops were speaking to the victim, defendant Lei Apelu was outside yelling profanities at the house, telling the victim to shut up and leave the house. She also entered the home yelling and cussing at the victim, calling her a liar.

Apelu was immediately arrested and escorted to a police unit. But that didn’t stop her from yelling profanities at the victim’s daughter. Apelu was later booked and confined at the TCF.

When the police approached defendant Ruth Talaleu (the landlord’s daughter), she too yelled profanities at the victim and told her to get out of their house because she does not own it. “You’re not paying for anything, just get your stuff and leave the area.”

Talaleu told police that she was the one who broke into the victim’s room. She kicked the door down, went inside, and removed all the victim’s property out of the room and left it in the garage area. She told police that she had told the victim to leave the place because they have no right to the house, which belongs to her deceased mother.

Pretrial conference is Mar. 3, 2020.