Man sentenced to 7 years — straight time — after a string of assault convictions
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man convicted of assaulting his girlfriend by striking the back of her head with a coconut was sentenced by the High Court to 7 years at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) — straight sentence.
Court records show that this is not the first time this defendant has been charged and convicted by the court for assaulting his girlfriend, the mother of his child.
The defendant, Martin Sega, who has been in custody for over 16 months since his arrest in 2019 appeared in High Court this week for sentencing. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Kristine Soule.
Sega was initially charged with a single count of 1st degree assault, a class A felony, however, under a plea agreement with the government, also accepted by the court, Sega pled guilty to the amended charged of 2nd degree assault involving domestic violence, a class C felony, punishable by term of imprisonment of up to 7 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
By his guilty plea, Sega admits that sometime in 2019 he assaulted his girlfriend by striking her head with a coconut.
When given the chance to address the court, Sega apologized for his action and begged the court for a chance to return home to care for his parents and his children. He told the court that the 456 days he spent in jail taught him that he must control his anger and be a loving father to his family — including his children and their mother.
In his own words, Sega told the court that he was truly remorseful for what he did and whatever he says in court will never remove the pain he caused to his girlfriend and her family.
Defense attorney Anderson called for a light sentence saying his client is truly remorseful for his stupid action and he wanted to move on with his life. He told the court that he sees changes in his client’s attitude and he believes that the many months his client spent in jail was a good time for him to learn a lesson in life.
Anderson further explained to the court that he had told Sega of the consequences he would face if he violated any conditions of his sentence from the court. He believes that a probated sentence would be relevant for his client.
The prosecutor opposed a light sentence. She asked the court for a fair sentence that includes a period of detention because this is not the first time this defendant has come before the court for the same crime.
According to the government, this is the fifth time this defendant has been arrested and charged with assault. Two of these cases involved the same victim, who is his girlfriend.
Soule reminded the court that in 2018, the defendant was sentenced to serve an imprisonment term of one year for an assault conviction.
Since 2013, the defendant has come before the court for various crimes including assault charges against the same victim, his girlfriend. The government said that the defendant is now telling the court that he’s truly remorseful for what he did, but his words are just a sweet song in order for the court to be lenient with him.
Soule said that the defendant’s incarcerations started with 90 days in prison, followed by a 4-month sentence, and then later on for his third conviction, he was sentenced to one year in jail, according to the prosecution.
Now, he has spent over a year in custody waiting for his case to be resolved and the government believes that the defendant is not remorseful. He needs to face the consequences for his actions, they said.
After a brief recess, the court noted that it has carefully reviewed all facts of the case and is aware that the defendant has a long criminal history with the court — a string of convictions starting from 2013 until now.
After considering submissions from both parties, the court stated that probation is not an option for this defendant. The defendant’s last sentence included a term of imprisonment of over a year as a condition of his probation and there is no reason the court would return to a probated sentence.
Sega was then sentenced to seven years imprisonment, a straight sentence and a fine of $2,000.
In 2013, Sega was ordered by the District Court to serve 90 days at the TCF as a condition of his 12 months probation, after being convicted of 3rd degree assault. The conviction against Sega stemmed from an incident where he assaulted another inmate while he was held in custody for another matter in High Court.
Sega and his brother were accused of allegedly drugging and sexually abusing a six-year-old boy and he was charged with child molesting, deviate sexual assault, sexual abuse first degree, endangering the welfare of a child and furnishing pornography materials to a minor.
In a plea agreement with the government, Sega pled guilty to sexual assault after which he was sentenced behind closed doors and released from jail by order of the High Court.
However, Sega appeared in District Court again after being released when the District Court wanted to know why Sega was released by the High Court on his own recognizance while serving 90 days for his District Court matter after he was convicted of 3rd degree assault of an inmate.
After negotiating with both parties, District Court ordered that Sega should be remanded back to the custody at TCF to serve his 90 days sentence.
In 2016, Sega was sentenced to 4 months in jail as a condition of his 24 months probation for assaulting his girl friend. When given the chance to address the court, Sega stated that he was really angry so he slapped his girlfriend, punched and later kicked her.
Sega slapped the victim, threw her to the ground and punched her in the face. As the victim tried to stand up, Sega walked over and pushed her down using his right leg, before punching her in the face again. The victim screamed for help.
The defendant’s mother had to jump in to stop the beating. The victim was also in court during Sega’s sentencing.
Sega was sentenced to 120 days at TCF and a fine of $200.
In 2018, Sega was arrested for assaulting another man and later sentenced to serve 12 months at the TCF as a conditions of a 24-month probation.
Chief Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr along with Associate Judge Tunupopo Alalafaga Tunupopo assisted Sunia on the bench.