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Twenty one year old receives jail time, restitution for stealing, damaging govt property

reporters@samoanews.com

 A man who broke into the Tafuna Community Health Center, vandalized the gate into the building and stole two DOH vehicles was sentenced to serve 28 months in jail.

Although initially facing second degree burglary and third degree property damage, Andres Villar, who is 21-years old, pled guilty to two counts of stealing in a plea deal with the government, who dismissed the earlier charges.

Sentencing for the defendant was handed down by Chief Justice Michael Kruse.

The defendant told the court during his plea agreement hearing that he was angry that his father had left, and this drove him to break into the Tafuna Community Health Center October last year and steal two Department of Health vehicles — license plates DOH-6 and DOH-35. 

The defendant’s mother took the witness stand and pleaded with the court to release her son from custody so he can get a job and help with the family. The mother of five told the court they have no contact whatsoever with her husband, who’s living in the mainland.

Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin told the court that the defendant caused serious damage to government property, due to lack of guidance, adding that the defendant left school very prematurely to find a job to provide for his family. The Assistant Public Defender said the defendant does have potential to turn his life around.

Prosecutor Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag told the court the defendant broke into the Tafuna Health Center and stole a vehicle, took off with it and wrecked it, then returned that vehicle to the health center and took off with another government vehicle. Poag said that the defendant’s anger towards his father leaving did not justify his actions of damaging and stealing government property.

Poag asked that the defendant pay restitution of $3,323.91, adding that an estimated amount for damage to the vehicles was not provided to him.

The Chief Justice sentenced the defendant to seven years in jail for each stealing count which are to be served concurrently. However execution of sentence was suspended under the conditions that the defendant serves 28 months in jail. Kruse explained that after serving six months in jail, if the defendant is gainfully employed, he will be released from jail.

Kruse also ordered the defendant to pay restitution of $3,500. Another condition is that the defendant must undergo psychiatric evaluation at the LBJ mental health clinic. The defendant was also ordered to abstain from consuming any alcohol or using any drug substance unless prescribed by a dully licensed physician in the territory.  

The defendant was further ordered not to hang around where alcohol is sold or congregate with those who are consuming alcohol. Another condition is that the defendant must visit the probation office regularly. Probation review hearing for the defendant is scheduled on December 28, 2012.



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