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Court metes out stiff sentence after man pleads to two counts of assault

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 37-year-old bus driver, who assaulted a 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.

Viliamu Valoaga 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, Valoaga 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.

Valoaga admits that on Feb. 12, 2020 he, along with two of his male friends, assaulted the victim, who had joined their drinking session at Valoaga’s home. A verbal argument erupted between the victim and one of Valoaga’s friends, causing Valoaga to instruct his friend to leave.

As Valoaga’s friend was leaving the area, the victim yelled out to him and challenged him to a fist fight. That’s when Valoaga, who had tried to calm things down, punched the victim, causing the man to fall down.

While on the ground, Valoaga kicked the victim in the back and on his face before punching him again. When cops tried to place him under arrest, Valoaga refused to have his hands cuffed. He walked away from officers and also damaged the victim’s iPhone valued at over $100.

Valoaga apologized to the court and begged for a second chance, saying he is the only person working to support his 3 young children. The court sentenced Valoaga to 24 months in jail, subject to several conditions. He is to pay a $120 fine, and attend and complete anger management counseling.