Man arrested on allegation of assault, drugs also found
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who is on probation for a drug conviction from three years ago was arrested last month on the allegation that he assaulted a man by hitting him on the head with a rock. When the defendant was arrested, police discovered drugs on his person and in his vehicle.
Finau Talaese appeared in court last month for his initial appearance where he informed the court that he opted for a preliminary examination (PX).
Talaese is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine; one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, punishably by imprisonment from 5 to 10 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both; along with trespass and property damage in the 3rd degree; both class A misdemeanors, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both; and 2nd degree assault, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Bail is set at $10,000.
On Jan. 19th, 2021, the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a call from a woman in Ottoville asking for help after her husband was assaulted by another man. The man was later identified as Finau Talaese, the defendant in this case.
Several police officers responded to the call and met up with the victim’s wife who immediately informed police that the defendant had just fled the scene in his vehicle after he saw police units approaching their home.
Police interviewed the victim and his wife regarding the alleged incident. According to the wife’s statement, she was in the house that afternoon with her elderly mother and three young children when she heard someone calling out her husband’s name from outside of their house. She later noticed that it was Talaese, who lives at the other end of the village.
According to the victim’s wife, she didn’t think that anything was unusual. However, she was shocked when she heard her husband arguing with Talaese and when she walked out to check on the verbal argument, she saw Talaese punch her husband in the face twice causing him to fall down.
She also saw Talaese with a rock in his hand — which he threw at the back door of their house leaving a hole in the middle of the door before he walked away. Photos of the damaged door were taken for evidence.
The wife said she then called police and EMS for assistance before she went over and assisted her husband with his injuries, while her three little children were just standing beside their father (the victim) crying.
The victim was transported by EMS to the hospital for treatment and was later discharged. He went straight to TPS for an interview.
The victim confirmed to police that it was Talaese, a man who always worked with him on construction work that assaulted him by hitting his head with a rock twice.
One week later, police spotted Talaese’s vehicle parked in front of a store in Malaeimi and approached him regarding the alleged incident. Talaese at first refused to comply with police instructions, but finally agreed to go with police to the TPS for an interview.
Before Talaese was transported to the TPS, he was patted down, where upon police discovered a medium sized baggie inside Talaese’s rear pocket containing two hand rolled marijuana joints.
An inventory search was also conducted of the vehicle in the presence of Talaese. During the search, police found a black pouch under the driver’s seat containing two small stamp-sized baggies containing white crystalline substance.
First, Talaese refused to speak to investigators regarding the drugs found in his possession and inside his vehicle, but after being Mirandized, he informed investigators that he fully understood his rights and would like to make a statement.
In his verbal statement to investigators, Talaese apologized for what happened to the victim and immediately admitted to his action. He told investigators that the drugs did belong to him. He said he went to Le Filifili two days prior to the incident and bought drugs for $30.
When asked about the alleged assault, Talaese admitted that he hit the victim’s head with a rock, saying he was really mad at the victim, because the victim never paid him when ever he helped the victim with his construction work.