Court sentences two with previous convictions — one to be deported, the other released with time served
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The 40-year-old man from Samoa who has two different names in the court system, was ordered by the court to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders upon release from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF), after being convicted of 2nd degree assault.
Andew Faasega, also known as Kilifi Faasega appeared before the Court last week for sentencing. He has been in custody since his arrest in 2019, unable to post a $20,000 surety bond.
Faasega was initially charged with first-degree assault, a felony, and two misdemeanor charges, third degree assault and public peace disturbance. But under a plea agreement with the government, defendant pled guilty to second-degree assault.
With his guilty plea, Faasega admits that on or about Oct. 30, 2019 he caused severe injury to his neighbor by striking his head and back with a metal pipe. Faasega told the court it was his temper that caused him to injure his neighbor.
Faasega apologized for his actions to the court, the government and the people of American Samoa for breaking the law, and humbly begged the court for another chance to straighten out his life.
He blamed the devil for his getting upset quickly and resorting to violence.
“I want to go home to care for my wife and children. I’m truly remorseful for what I did, it was not me who stirred up everything, it was the devil who was living inside me who tempted me to act violent when I’m angry,” Faasega told the court.
He admitted to the court that he has an anger problem and he needs to control it. The only way he knows to control his anger is to go to church every Sunday and leave his old life behind.
“I want to change my life and be a good man. I don’t want to go back to prison anymore. I want to have a happy family and I promise that I will never break the law again,” Faasega concluded with tears in his eyes.
Former defense attorney, Rob McNeill asked the court to sentence his client to a probated sentence, with a condition that the defendant leave the territory upon release from prison.
McNeill told the court that every time he spoke to Faasega about the incident that landed him in court, he always told him that he’s truly remorseful for what he did, and he wanted to change his life.
Before delivering its decision, the court stated that Faasega was convicted of 2nd degree assault. The facts of the case include using a metal pipe to cause severe injury to a man who is his neighbor.
However, according to the court database, Faasega was convicted by the District Court of 3rd degree assault in 2009. The fact of what happened back 11 years ago was that the defendant went after his brother-in-law with a hammer, while his brother-in-law was holding his 2-year-old child.
According to the court, after seeing the father’s action on that day in 2009, the defendant’s 8-year-old daughter then intervened and tried to stop her father from hurting her uncle. However, Faasega then assaulted her by slapping her in the face, causing her to fall on the ground.
The court then sentenced Faasega to 5 years imprisonment, execution of the imprisonment term was suspended, and the defendant was placed on probation for 5 years under certain conditions.
He was ordered to serve a period of detention of 20 months at TCF without release. All but 12 months of that detention was stayed, and the defendant was ordered to depart the territory and remain outside of its jurisdiction for the period of probation.
The young man who spent 60 days behind bars for disturbing the peace in Iliili a few months ago was released from confinement last week, after District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea sentenced him to time served at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).
The government claimed that on the night of Aug. 26, 2020 around 11p.m, Vitale Leao disturbed the peace by yelling out profanities while he was heavily intoxicated, which caused many families to wake up and run to the road to see what was happening.
The government further claimed that the defendant also engaged in some threatening behavior when some of the village people tried to calm him down.
Leao pled guilty to public peace disturbance (PPD), a class B misdemeanor. In return for his guilty plea, the government agreed to dismiss the remaining charges against the defendant. Leao was arrested on the night of the incident and spent 60 days in prison after he was unable to post his cash bond of $500.
He appeared in District Court this week for sentencing.
The government agreed that the defendant would be placed on probation for a period of 12 months without any additional period of detention.
According to court records, Leao has a criminal record in District Court. In 2013, he was convicted of PPD and property damage. Again in 2016, he was also convicted of PPD and 3rd degree assault.
The court sentenced Leao to a period of probation of 12 months subject to the following conditions, that he pay a fine of $100, stay away from consuming alcohol or possession of illegal drugs, and remain law abiding and visit the probation office every month. His probation review will be on Dec. 10, 2020
“Leao, if you violate any conditions of your probation, the court will order you to serve the 165 days of detention that was deferred from your previous cases. It’s time for you to stop coming to court and seeing me, except for your probation review,” the court warned the defendant.