Court sets bail for alleged machete wielder; revokes release in assault case
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea has set bail at $500 for Onosa’i Talitiga, who was taken into custody last week following an incident in Malaeimi where he is alleged to have gone to his neighbor’s home with a machete, and also challenged people in the neighborhood to a fight.
Talitiga, who made his initial appearance in court this week, is charged with misdemeanor public peace disturbance (PPD).
Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell says the government may file additional charges, as the police investigation continues on allegations of possible trespassing and making verbal threats.
If Talitiga is able to post bail, he is ordered not to bother his neighbor or attempt to set foot on his property. He is also not to make any direct or indirect contact with him.
Talitiga will appear in court again on Mar. 5.
According to court information, the PPD charge stems from a disagreement between Talitiga and his neighbor over the access road used by both families. Talitiga contends that the neighbor should not be using the access road because he and his children have spent a lot of time cleaning it.
But the neighbor claims that the access road is on their family property and therefore, Talitiga and his family should not be using the road at all. The neighbor contacted police for assistance after Talitiga allegedly came to his house and used a machete in a threatening manner, in addition to making verbal threats to an elderly man of his family.
It’s alleged that Talitiga’s actions came after a drinking session he had with friends at his home. When interviewed by police, Talitiga admitted that he had a machete and was making threatening statements to people in the neighborhood. He said he was just trying to prove a point to his neighbor, but he had no intention of hurting anyone.
Talitiga is not new to the court as in 2009 he was sentenced by the District Court to 24 months probation after being convicted of third degree assault and property damage, both class A misdemeanors.
A probationer who tested positive for meth last Friday morning is now in custody, after District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea revoked his release.
Sio Alapati was sentenced to 12 months probation after he was convicted of third degree assault in May of this year. Conditions of his probation included monthly Probation visits, pay a $140 fine, and remain drug and alcohol free.
The court had ordered Alapati to appear Dec. 30th for his first probation review. However, when he failed to show up, the court issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
Alapati was arrested and appeared in court on Jan. 22nd, after which he was released on his own recognizance. Before Alapati left the premises, Patea ordered the Probation Office to drug test Alapati.
The test came back positive for meth and a second OSC was issued by the court, for which he appeared last Thursday. When Alapati’s case was called, Patea ordered Probation to test Alapati prior to the start of court proceedings. Again, Alapati tested positive for meth.
Patea told Alapati’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart that the court will continue Alapatis case, and a preliminary hearing (PX) for his second OSC is Feb. 27th.
In the meantime, Alapatai is back in custody on a ‘no bail’ status.
A young man who assaulted another man by punching him in the face and kicking him multiple times while he was on the ground was sentenced last week to 24 months behind bars.
Malaki Etuale was initially charged with third degree assault; third degree property damage; resisting arrest; and stealing — all class A misdemeanors. However, under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, Etuale pled guilty to third degree assault and third degree property damage, each punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. The remaining charges were dismissed.
Etuale admits that on Aug. 12, 2019 he, along with a male cousin, assaulted the victim, who had joined their drinking session at Etuale’s home. A verbal argument erupted between the victim and one of Etuale’s friends, causing Etuale to instruct his friend to leave.
As Etuale’s friend was leaving the area, the victim yelled out to him and challenged him to a fist fight. That’s when Etuale, who had tried hard to calm things down, punched the victim, causing the man to fall down. Etuale also kicked the victim and punched him in the face multiple times while he was on the ground.
When cops tried to place him under arrest, Etuale refused to have his hands cuffed. He walked away from officers and also damaged the victim’s iPhone valued at over $100.
Etuale apologized to the court and begged for a second chance, saying he is the only person working to support his 3 young children. District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea sentenced Etuale to 24 months in jail, subject to several conditions. He is to pay a $100 fine, and attend and complete anger management counseling.