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Woman who ransacked renters room sentenced

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — One of the two females arrested earlier this year in June and charged with disturbing the public peace was sentenced by District Court Judge, Fiti Sunia last Friday to 6 months probation.

As a condition of her probation, Taeaolelei Talatau, 25, of Pava’ia’i is ordered to pay a fine of $100, maintain the peace at her residence at all times, and not have any contact with the victim or the government’s witnesses.

Her co-defendant, Leinara Fruean, 23, from Mapusaga is scheduled to appear in District Court on Oct. 5 for her pretrial conference.

When Talatau appeared in court for her pretrial conference, her attorney, Assistant Public Defender, Ryan Anderson informed the court that they have entered into a plea agreement with the government.

Talatau agreed to plead guilty to public peace disturbance and the remaining charge — second degree property damage — is dismissed.

The government claims that on June 14 around 4:30 p.m, a woman from Pava’ia’i called the Tafuna Substation for assistance, claiming her room had been broken into and damaged by an unknown person.

The victim told police that she, her daughter, and a friend went shopping on the day in question and when they returned home, her room door was broken and all her property, including personal belongings, were outside in the garage.

She asked the homeowner's daughter if she knew anything about what happened and the response was, “I don’t know.”

The victim told police that she had rented the room for two years and she didn't know what happened and what made the landlord’s daughter do this to her.

She further stated to police that when ASPA cut the water in the building — due to bills not being paid — she made payments for the water and as of today, she was still paying on the water bill, in addition to her rent.

While police officers were speaking to the victim, Fruean, one of the defendants, was outside yelling profanities, telling the victim to shut up and leave the house. She then entered the house, yelling and cussing at the victim, calling her a liar.

Fruean was immediately arrested and escorted into a police unit. In the process, Fruean continued to yell profanities, this time, at the victim's daughter.

Fruean was later booked and confined at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) until her court appearance.

When police approached the other defendant, Talatau (the landlord’s daughter) to get some information in regards to the situation, she too was yelling profanities at the victim, telling her to get out of the house because she doesn't own the building.

Talatau admitted to police that she was the one who broke into the victim’s room. She kicked the door down, entered, and removed all the victim’s property out of the room and left it inside the garage area. She told police that she had instructed the victim to leave the premises because they have no rights to the house, as the house belongs to her deceased mother.