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All defendants in beating death plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide

After many continuances in the government’s case against the three defendants charged in the beating death of Sio “Chico” Faumui last year June, the defendants have finally entered guilty pleas as part of their plea agreement with the government.

Ne’emia Poamo, Migo Misa and Sefo Siaulaiga all pled guilty to the amended count of criminally negligent homicide, a lesser charge, which is a class D felony punishable with up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

The criminal charge the defendants have pled guilty to, was amended from second degree murder, which was the original criminal count they were facing. Poamo and Misa are represented by Assistant Public Defenders Mike White and Leslie Cardin while David Vargas represents Siaulaiga.

According to the plea agreement that was read in court, each defendant admitted to punching Sio on the face, which led to his death.

The plea agreement states that the government has yet to make a recommendation until the pre-sentence report is made available. However the defendants can make any recommendation to the court.

Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop who’s prosecuting this matter noted that all three defendants understand that sentencing recommendations are not binding upon the court, which has the sole authority to sentence the defendants within the limits of the law.

Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond and Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr accepted this plea agreement. This is the second plea deal that was submitted to the court in this matter, as the first was denied by the court last week.

Misa was the first to admit in open court that he punched the victim.

The court heard from Poamo that he punched Sio five times. “I got there during the fight and I punched the man (Sio) in the face five times and after that I left, while there were other men involved in the fight” said Poamo.

Siaulaiga also admitted that he punched Sio’s face repeatedly. “I joined a fight that broke out, in which I punched the man (Sio) on his face repeatedly” he said.

Richmond scheduled sentencing for the three defendants on December 12, 2012 and ordered a probated sentence for this matter.  The defendants have been incarcerated since June of last year.

According to the government’s case, Siaulaiga, Misa and Poamo assaulted Faumui of Iliili with their hands and left him unconscious about 15 feet from the main road in Malaeimi. According to the government’s case, Poamo and Migo punched and kicked Faumui at least 15 to 20 times and Faumui suffered multiple facial injuries.