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Man who struck a ‘midnight creeper’ sentenced to time served

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 35-year-old farmer from Samoa convicted of striking the back and shoulder of an intruder with a metal pipe after the intruder visited the defendant’s wife at their home was released from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) last week after the court sentenced him to time already served (12 months ) while awaiting the outcome of his case.

Tagi Asenati appeared in High Court last week for sentencing.

Asenati was initially charged with 2nd degree assault, a class D felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years, and a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

However, under a plea agreement, accepted by the court, Asenati agreed to plead guilty to the amended charged of 3rd degree assault, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

When given the chance to address the court, Asenati apologized for his actions and asked for a second chance to continue to remain in American Samoa to care for his family. He told the court that he’s 35 years old and has lived here most of his life.

Asenati said that there was no intention to cause severe injuries to the intruder — however, his anger reached the point that caused him to act immediately. He told the court that he made a mistake and wants to start a new chapter in his life.

His defense attorney asked the court to place his client on probation without any period of incarceration.

Defense attorney further stated to the court that the intruder went to his client’s house on the night of the incident for the purpose of visiting the defendant’s wife. Asenati then used a piece of metal pipe to assault the intruder.

After the incident, the defense attorney said that Asenati’s wife had departed the territory and went to Samoa while he was in custody awaiting the outcome of his case.

The prosecutor echoed the defense attorney’s submission for a probated sentence without a period of incarceration.

The government attorney acknowledged the presence of the victim, Amiatu Talo in court.

The government attorney told the court that the victim has forgiven the defendant for his actions, knowing that he (victim) was at fault in this case. The government attorney further stated to the court that the matter between the defendant and the victim has been reconciled within the two families.

The court then sentenced Asenati to 12 months imprisonment. Execution of detention was suspended and the defendant was placed on probation for 12 months subject to several conditions, including having no contact with Talo.

The court also ordered Asenati to continue working on his farm to pay his $500 fine.