Inmate who gets additional 5 years for escape tells court about living conditions at the prison
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — An inmate serving a 20-year sentence for stealing, and also escaping from the TCF in January 2013 during which he assaulted a government employee, was sentenced by the High Court to an additional 5 years for escaping from confinement, again, last year.
Pursuant to a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court in September of last year, Tinomineta Alesana Jr pled guilty to escape from confinement, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
When given the chance to speak, Alesana Jr apologized and said he’s truly remorseful for what he did. He told the court that life at TCF now is not easy, compared to 5 years ago, when they ate well and got everything they asked for. Now, the food is not good and they hardly get what they ask for, such as soap to shower, toothpaste, and food. And for those reasons, inmates escape.
Alesana Jr said he’s been trying to request to the Parole Board for a chance to go home, but his requests have fallen on deaf ears. “I want to go home. I want to be with my family and parents but I can’t do anything because the Parole Board does not want to consider my request. I don’t want to stay in prison anymore because it’s not a good place to sleep.”
He explained that he did not commit any crime when he escaped from confinement last year, he only went to the store to buy cigarettes for other inmates and went back to prison.
Defense attorney Ryan Anderson told the court that the time Alesana Jr has served in prison has taught him a great lesson, that escaping is not the answer to the many problems they face at TCF. He requested that his client get a sentence that will run concurrent with any other sentence he’s serving now. The prosecutor echoed the defense submission, requesting that Alesana Jr be sentenced to 5 years, to run concurrent with the time he’s currently serving.
When asked to explain his stance, prosecutor Doug Lowe explained that he agrees with the defense submission for a concurrent sentence, because Alesana Jr didn’t break any law when he escaped from the TCF last year. But the court reminded him that this was the second time Alesana Jr escaped from jail.
In his first escape, Alesana Jr and another inmate went to a home and assaulted a man who worked as a security on government property. The court noted that despite Alesana Jr not breaking the law when he escaped last year, what he did was serious and the court will not take it lightly.
Alesana Jr was sentenced to 5 years, a straight sentence.
In July 2013, while serving a 28-month jail term for a first burglary conviction, Alesana Jr and two other inmates escaped from the TCF and assaulted a government employee in Tafuna.
Alesana Jr punched the man in the face and kicked him on the side and back. The other inmates assisted in the beating. In the middle of last year, Alesana Jr again escaped from jail, by opening the main gate and walking to the store to buy cigarettes and beer for him and other inmates.
Alesana Jr was a trustee at the time. He told investigators he thought his action was justified because he only went to the store and came back.