Murderer jailed for life

A man from Siumu, who stabbed another man from their village after a disagreement during a fiafia night at a local resort turned violent, has been jailed for life.

The sentence for Iakopo Malaki was delivered by Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke in the Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon.

Malaki had vacated his not guilty plea on Monday morning. He instead pleaded guilty to the murder of 21-year-old, Danny Kitiona Tofaeono, and being armed with a dangerous weapon, namely a knife.

The stabling took place during a fiafia night at Sinalei Resort & Spa at which both men were performing. 

Mr. Tofaeono was taken to the hospital but pronounced dead upon arrival.

At the time, the Chairman of Sinalei Resort, Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale, said the incident stunned the village. He said there was bad blood between the two men.

Malaki was part of a group of supporters for the entertainers from Maninoa.

The deceased played with the string band on the night.

The accused was not an employee of Sinalei and recently returned from American Samoa and had sought an opportunity to play with the band.

 “So it was during the time there was a break for the band while the other entertainment was on when it happened,” said Tuatagaloa.

 “There must have been some differences between these two and had words with the other guy – and in the course of the show Danny went to the back and the other guy must have followed him there to the back – and that is where he [allegedly] stabbed him.

“So the guy that did this must have camouflaged the knife when he went to the back, and everyone thought he just threw a punch but it was fatal.”

The deceased's parents, Atuaia Kitiona and Tiaga Kitiona Tofaeono, said their son was sorely missed.

Atuaia said his son was preparing to celebrate his 22nd birthday the following week, before he was killed.


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