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District Court remands overstayer, sets mental health hearing for one and sentences another

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — An overstayer who made his initial appearance in District Court last Wednesday is remanded to custody on a 'no bail' status.

According to Immigration, the defendant's Immigration ID expired on March 19, 2019

The defense attorney informed the court that the defendant's sponsor is off island. But Judge Elvis P. Patea noted that it's been two months since the defendant's ID expired and it appears that nothing is being done to renew his status. He then transferred the matter to the Family, Drug, and Alcohol (FDA) court where a pretrial conference is set for June 17th.

The man, 43, is charged with public peace disturbance and third degree assault (domestic violence). He has entered 'not guilty' pleas to both counts.

According to the government, police received calls for assistance from more than one person, regarding a dispute between the man and his wife in Aoa village.

The couple's disagreement had created a 'big scene' and essentially caused a disturbance in the neighborhood.

When police arrived, the defendant's wife was crying, but the defendant was nowhere to be found. According to the victim, her husband had started drinking after work and was already drunk when they rode the bus together to Aoa.

While on the bus, the defendant allegedly started an argument with his wife, cussing her out and causing a commotion which alerted passengers.

The woman eventually left her seat and moved to the front of the bus to avoid her husband. Police were told that when the couple stepped off the bus in Aoa, the defendant slapped his wife on the face. The woman started walking home but the defendant kept shouting profanities at her, "pushing and shoving her."

At the house, the man allegedly hit and pushed his wife on the floor and then kicked her - with his boots on - on her left arm.

That's when the woman's father-in-law stepped in and stopped the defendant from hitting her again.

Once the defendant was aware that police had been contacted, he "walked out and took off from the house."

He was later found — at home — where he was apprehended and taken into custody.


The next court date for a man who was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation at the LBJ Behavioral Center is May 29th.

Kevin Philip Pierce appeared in District Court last Thursday for a status hearing where Judge Elvis P. Patea granted the defense motion to release Pierce on his own recognizance.

Conditions of release are standard, to include not leaving or attempting to leave the territory without the prior permission of the court, and making all his court appearances.

Pierce was charged with one count of public peace disturbance following an incident that occurred April 17th in Pavaiai.

According to the government, police were called for assistance regarding five males alleged to have been drinking at a Pava'ia'i store/laundromat, making loud noises and cracking beer bottles near the business establishment.

One male — later identified as Kapeli Felise — was seen trying to light up a "cigarette-like roll of paper" containing what appeared to be a "green leafy substance."

Police were able to apprehend four of the five males and transport them to the DPS Tafuna Sub Station for questioning. Besides Felise, the other three males were Tanielu Iaulualo, Kapeli Lasalo, and Kevin Philip Pierce.

A property inventory netted  "what seemed to be a cigarette-like roll containing a green leafy substance." on Lasalo and Iaulualo. Bail for Lasalo is maintained at $5,000 while Iaulualo and Felise are being held without bail, due to their immigration status.


A man who admitted that he yelled at a store clerk and then punched the glass door of a store - while he was intoxicated - has been sentenced to 6 months probation.

Sosoatu Tooala appeared in District Court last Thursday for a pretrial conference.

He was initially charged with public peace disturbance and third degree property damage. Under a plea agreement, he pled guilty to PPD and the remaining charge was dismissed.