One man charged in stabbing that landed father of 4 in ICU
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A father of four was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the LBJ Hospital after being stabbed with a kitchen knife.
Pepa Taito and Laufala Sio, who were engaged in a drinking session in front of a Aua store a week ago Saturday morning, were arrested in connection with the alleged stabbing.
Taito made his initial appearance before District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea last Tuesday. He was later released by the court, after the government opted not to file any charges against him.
Sio on the other hand, is being charged; and made his initial appearance in court last Thursday.
Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell, while new Assistant Public Defender, Bob Stuart is representing the defendant.
Sio was held at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) for 48 hours, while the government worked to prepare the arrest warrant, which was served Thursday morning.
Bail is $10,000 and the preliminary examination is set for Feb. 27th.
Patea denied the defense motion to reduce bail from $10,000 to $2,000.
Given the nature of the incident and the injuries the victim sustained, the court feels the bail amount is suitable.
Around 9:47a.m on Feb. 15th, the DPS Central Station received a call from a man reporting that 3 males were fighting across the street from an Asian store in Aua and one man was allegedly stabbed with a knife, and his son had ran over to break up the fight.
Five minutes later, several cops arrived at the scene, and spoke to the man who reported the incident. EMS units were also on site.
After gathering information from witnesses, Taito and Sio were handcuffed and placed in police custody for safety reasons. Police were then directed to where the knife was.
An eyewitness told police that he was on the road heading west with his father (the man who reported the incident to police) when they saw 3 men fighting across from a store in Aua.
He said when they saw what was happening, his father stopped their vehicle and he ran out to break the fight up and render assistance, while his father called police. The witness said that when he approached the 3 men, one of them was leaning against a container holding his chest, which was bleeding, while the other 2 men continued fighting.
Other people who were at the scene jumped in and broke up the fight.
When questioned by police, the victim said he and his 2 friends were drinking after they got off of work at the cannery around 5a.m. According to him, their drinking session started at a store in front in Leloaloa and later shifted near a store in Aua.
The victim told police that at around 9a.m he noticed that Sio was very drunk and was acting different, so he advised him to finish his last beer and go home; but Sio refused and wanted to continue drinking.
Later on, according to the victim, Sio left him and Taito, and walked to the other side of the store. He was almost hit by a vehicle because he was walking in the middle of the road. The victim said that’s when they ran towards Sio, to check on him and make sure he was okay.
However, it was during this time, according to the victim, when he got close to Sio that he was shocked when he felt a sharp object in his stomach — he had been stabbed. The victim underwent surgery and was admitted to the ICU.
Police were able to speak to Sio on Sunday morning.
According to him, in the midst of their drinking session, Taito started acting angrily towards him, saying things that made him scared. Thinking Taito and the victim were going to assault him, after Taito threw a beer can at him, that missed, Sio said, he became angry, got up, and walked towards the other side of the road. While walking towards the other side of the road, Sio told police he saw Taito and the victim following him. He said he had a concealed cooking knife in his shorts.
As Taito and the victim got closer to him, Sio said he knew they were going to jump him. So when Taito bear-hugged him, that’s when he grabbed the knife with his right hand and stabbed the victim in the stomach, then he felt punches as he was trying to defend himself.
Sio said he was trying to make his way back to where the victim was standing and holding his stomach, but Taito continued to throw punches at him, causing bruises all over his facial area. He said he fought back but most of his punches didn’t connect because he was too drunk.
Sio sustained a black eye, a swollen left eye, and a swollen left jaw. A CT scan revealed no fractured bones or internal bleeding, just soft tissue.
The victim however, sustained a stab wound in the upper abdominal area.