Repeat burglar sentenced to 15 straight years in jail without probation
Chief Justice Michael Kruse believed that if the court hadn’t placed Logoitaeao Amituana’i on probation, which allowed him an early release from jail, the Hawthorne company wouldn’t have suffered a burglary.
Kruse made the comment when he handed down a 15-year straight sentence for Amituana’i who was out on probation for a burglary case when he committed another crime of burglary by breaking into Hawthorne, in the Tafuna Industrial Park.
Amituana’i asked the court for leniency when he rendered his apologies to the court, the government and to Hawthorne for what he did.
The government charged Amituana’i with five criminal charges of first degree burglary, stealing, possession of burglar’s tools, resisting arrest and property damage in the first degree. In a plea deal with the government, he pleaded guilty to burglary, stealing and resisting arrest while the remaining charges were dismissed.
Public Defender Douglas Fiaui noted that the defendant has broken the law before and he knows now that it's up to him to break the cycle, and he must accept the result. Fiaui asked the court to sentence the defendant to seven years in prison for burglary, seven years for stealing and five years for resisting arrest and to have it run concurrently, which would have been a prison term of seven years.
Kruse noted the defendant had broken into Hawthorne, caused property damage and removed equipment, and what “disturbs the court” is that Amituana’i was previously convicted of burglary, for breaking into the Triple S gas station, which is not far from Hawthorne, and the offense occurred while the defendant had been “released pursuant to a probation order of this court”.
The Chief Justice added that in hindsight, if the court had not released the defendant on probation “Hawthorne would have not suffered”. The defendant’s only mitigating factor was his early guilty plea and not wasting government money for a jury trial.
Kruse sentenced the defendant to 15 years for burglary, stealing and resisting arrest, and given his probation history, said the court will not place him on probation and he can “take his chances with the parole board."
According to the government’s case, on May 24, 2013 police received calls reporting an alleged burglary in progress at Hawthorne and upon arrival, police saw two individuals were still inside the warehouse. The men fled the scene and were later apprehended.
Police officers arrested the pair (one of whom was a juvenile) and inside the co-defendant's pocket, it is alleged police found a small red bag containing a digital camera and two SD Memory Cards. The photos on the camera were of employees of the Hawthorne Warehouse. In the defendant’s pockets, police retrieved two screw drivers and a pocket knife.
The General Manager of the Hawthorne, Inc. warehouse identified the camera, red bag, memory cards, and the pocket knife, as belonging to employees of Hawthorne, Inc. and taken from the warehouse. It’s alleged the value of the retrieved stolen items exceeded $100.
According to court filings, the lead investigator noted that upon canvassing the crime scene, it was determined that the point of entry was the rear door of the Hawthorne Warehouse. The evidence showed that the rear door had been smashed in using a solid object.
The defendant informed police he had thrown a rock at the door, causing damage to the door, and then kicked the door in to gain entrance.
The government claims a blood trail leading from the rear door into the warehouse and a cut on Defendant’s right leg and foot confirmed the events. Additionally, inside the warehouse, police recovered two cash registers on the ground that appeared to have been tampered with.
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