Four inmates charged following weekend fight at the TCF
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — An alleged fight involving several inmates at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) has resulted in charges being filed against inmates Titio Titio Jr., his brother Asofa Titio, Ah Chong Lefatia, and Reggie Va’avale.
The four defendants all entered ‘not guilty’ pleas to the single count of private peace disturbance when they made their initial appearances before Judge Elvis P. Patea on Monday. They are all remanded back to custody and pretrial conference is set for next month.
On the morning of Oct. 5th, all available police units were called to respond to the TCF to assist corrections officers with a fight that was in progress.
In an interview, Corrections officer Lauolo revealed to investigators that at around 9 a.m. that morning, inmate Asofa Titio, asked if he could go to one of the TCF units to get something from another inmate. Asofa was allowed to move between the two units — unsupervised.
Instead of going to the unit he said he was going to, Asofa went to Bravo Unit, where inmate Thomas Siaumau is housed, and challenged him to a fight. According to the government, it got physical — the two men were throwing punches at each other.
About 10 minutes later, CO Fuimaono said he was called to assist in breaking up a fight between Asofa and Siaumau, and several other inmates. He said that when he arrived, he noticed that it was Asofa that the other officers were trying to hold back.
Things eventually calmed down.
However, a second incident occurred when all four defendants went to Bravo unit and started throwing rocks at other inmates.
According to Fuimaono, after the fight between Asofa and Siaumau was settled, Asofa was escorted back to his unit, where he shared with his three co-defendants what happened. A few minutes later, all four defendants told Fuimaono they wanted to go to Bravo Unit to apologize to Siaumau about what happened earlier that morning.
Lefatia, Va’avale, and Titio Titio Jr told Fuimaono they felt bad when they heard that their ‘brother’ Siaumau was involved in the first incident. They said they didn’t want anything like this to happen between them because they lived like brothers before they ended up at TCF.
According to Fuimaono, he escorted all four defendants to Bravo Unit in an effort to resolve their differences, so it wouldn’t escalate into another fight. Fuimaono said that as he and the defendants approached Bravo Unit, he was shocked when they started throwing rocks and tried to enter Bravo Unit, and at the same time, yelling profanities, which sparked the second incident.
Several corrections officers who were present assisted Fuimaono by pulling away the four defendants, as they tried to force their way into Bravo Unit to assault Thomas Siaumau and his brother Elliott Siaumau Jr.
Fuimaono told investigators that he removed a long metal object from inmate Lefatia, who was trying to enter Bravo Unit.
Elliott told investigators that while he was getting ready for visitation that morning, Asofa came to his unit looking for inmate Poe Tinae; and when he asked Asofa why he was looking for Tinae, Asofa got mad. The two then argued and got into a fight.
Elliott said the fight was broken up and he continued to his visitation.
However, he found out later that there was an altercation the night before between Asofa and Tinae. Elliott said when he returned to his cell at around 10:30a.m, Fuimaono brought the four defendants to Bravo unit, saying they wanted to apologize about the earlier incident.
Elliott said that as Fuimaono was talking to him, he noticed that the defendants were holding rocks, and they called him and his brother Thomas out, and started throwing rocks at their unit.
When questioned by investigators, Asofa said he was angry with Tinae for not paying what he owed him. On Friday night, Asofa asked Tinae to pay his money back, but Tinae ignored him. That angered Asofa and caused him to push Tinae against the wall.
Asofa said he wanted to confront Thomas because he heard Thomas was telling everybody that he was going to beat him up for assaulting Tinae. Asofa admitted to police that he lied to Fuimaono about where he was going that day, and his intent was to pick a fight with Thomas Siaumau.
According to the government, this isn’t the first time Asofa and Va’avale have been involved in an incident like this at the TCF. On Oct. 20, 2018, it is alleged that an inmate was assaulted in Bravo Unit by Asofa, Va’avale, and other inmates. The victim sustained severe head injuries that landed him in the LBJ’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for almost a week.
For that case, Asofa, Vaavale and their co-defendants are each charged with second degree assault, a class D felony. That case is still pending in High Court.