Indicted woman was on probation
By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer
A woman indicted yesterday on multiple attempted murder charges has been repeatedly jailed for probation violations but was released from custody late last month to enter a drug treatment program, according to court records.
Grace Tagaolo, 24, also known as Grace Tagaolo-Savea, allegedly fired a handgun at a group of people in Whitmore Village on Saturday night and verbally threatened to kill them, according to deputy prosecuting attorney Vickie Kapp.
The people had been trying to "hold down" Tagaolo's boyfriend, Robert Souza Jr., when the woman took a handgun from her car and fired several gunshots at them as they ran, Kapp said.
Tagaolo then tried to drive away in a truck that belonged to one of the victims, but the vehicle stalled and she fled in a car driven by Souza.
"From that vehicle she fired several more shots" at the victims, Kapp said.
None of the people she shot at were injured.
Kapp said Tagaolo has 49 prior arrests, a felony conviction for assault in the second degree and is on probation in that case until the year 2015.
Souza has 15 prior arrests and no permanent address, she said. He is awaiting trial on a felony charge of unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. For acting as Tagaolo's "getaway driver," Souza has been charged with hindering prosecution, Kapp said.
The gun allegedly used by Tagaolo was not recovered.
In the earlier assault case, Tagaolo and another female were convicted of beating and kicking a woman after she refused their demand for money.
Tagaolo was sentenced to five years of probation in March 2007 and enrolled in HOPE, a court probation program designed to reduce criminal recidivism through close monitoring of participants and a "swift and sure" return to jail for rules violations.
Court files show Tagaolo failed to appear at a probation review hearing in April 2007 but later explained she couldn't attend because she "was being questioned by a detective as a witness in a murder case."
Tagaolo was returned to jail for 10 days in 2008 for refusing a urinalysis test. Last June, Circuit Judge Michael Wilson ordered her to jail for six months for failure to meet with her probation officer.
Last month, she missed another court appointment and appeared before Wilson on March 29. According to court minutes of the hearing, the judge said Tagaolo was "in denial as to the seriousness of her drug problem," but he continued a hearing on the matter until April 12 — two days after the shooting.
"The defendant is to be released today and is to get into a drug treatment program," Wilson said.
Tagaolo did not appear at Tuesday's hearing because she had been arrested in the attempted murder case.