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Samoa man ordered to leave the territory after serving jail time for knife attack

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 45-year-old man from Samoa convicted of assaulting his neighbor by stabbing his back twice with a knife and punching him in the face multiple times is going to jail.

Farani Falaula, who has been in custody since his arrest last year, unable to post a $10,000 surety bond, was ordered to serve 20 months detention, as a condition of a 5-year probation sentence.

Upon release from detention, Falaula is to immediately depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of probation.

Falaula was initially charged with first-degree assault and second-degree burglary, both felonies, and 2 misdemeanors: third degree assault and property damage.

But under a plea agreement with the government, Falaula pled guilty to the amended count of second-degree assault. The remaining charges were dismissed.

Falaula told the court that he's ashamed of what he did to his neighbor, who is like a brother to him.

“I’m truly remorseful for what I did. All I ask for is your leniency. I want to go back home, and rebuild my life…” Falaula said.

Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson asked for a probated sentence without any additional period of detention. He asked the court to use the 14 months his client has been in custody as his sentence.

The prosecutor disagreed.

Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey said Falaula is a danger to his neighbor and to the community. She asked the court to order Falaula to depart the territory after serving his detention at TCF.

Falaula's criminal record carried a lot of weight when the court handed down its decision. In 2000, he was placed on probation for a year following a DUI conviction. Three years later, he was convicted of unlawful possession of illegal drugs and was placed on 5 years probation. Then in 2010, he was convicted of misdemeanor stealing and placed on probation for one year.

For this case, Falaula was sentenced to 5 years probation and a fine of $2,000 Execution of imprisonment is suspended, and he is placed on probation for 5 years, under the condition that he immediately departs the territory, upon serving 20 months at TCF.

The court has ordered the government to contact Falaula’s sponsor to pay his $2,000 fine.