Defendant and victim hug after court, turns out they're related
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young man convicted of another crime while still on probation was ordered to serve out his period of detention that had been suspended at the beginning of this year, which was 38 days at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).
Etulasi Tavita appeared in District Court two weeks ago for two separate hearings — a pretrial conference for his new case and disposition hearing for his previous case.
Court records show that while Tavita was on 6 months probation from a PPD conviction at the beginning of the year, he was arrested by police in February on another criminal charge, this time with trespassing, 3rd-degree assault and 3rd-degree property damage.
When Tavita’s case was called, his defense attorney informed the court that they had reached an agreement with the government on his new case.
According to terms of the plea agreement, Tavita would pled guilty to 3rd degree property damage and both parties recommended probation on the condition that Tavita pays restitution in the amount of $460 for damaging the victim’s property.
Furthermore, both parties also recommended to the court not to revoke Tavita’s probation, but instead to modify it.
Facts of the case show that around March of this year, Tavita went to the victim’s home uninvited and damaged his property including a glass door to the house, a weed-eater; the door to the house and screen-wire on 3 windows, which cost $460.
In delivering its decision, the court reminded Tavita that when he appeared in court for sentencing on his previous matter, the court suspended his period of detention of 38 days. The court then revoked his probation and ordered him to serve the 38 days at the TCF.
In the new matter, the court sentenced him to 6 months probation under the conditions that he pay restitution in the amount of $460 and serve 45 days at the TCF. He was credited for the two months he served at TCF while awaiting the outcome of his case.
Since Tavita had served more time than the period of detention the court ordered him to serve, he was released from custody after sentencing.
Tavita was also reminded that the court wants to see that he has paid half of his restitution when he appears in court on Oct. 20th for a probation review hearing.
Furthermore, the court ordered Tavita to attend anger management, be law abiding and look for a job to pay his restitution.
The victim, who was in court during Tavita’s court proceeding hugged the defendant outside of the courtroom. According to the government’s case, the victim is the defendant’s uncle.