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Court releases man after told that he was allegedly shot by inmate

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Despite the hard work by several police officers to arrest Sopi Senio after trying to locate him for several months — pursuant to an arrest warrant from the court on the allegation that he failed to comply with conditions of his probation — Associate Justice Fiti Sunia released Senio yesterday when he appeared in High Court.

Senio, through his attorney Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill, denied the allegations; and asked the court to release his client on his own recognizance, saying he will make sure Senio makes all of his future court appearances.

“That’s exactly why he was arrested, because he failed to appear in court when his case was called a few months ago,” Sunia said.

McNeill then explained that his client was injured when he was allegedly shot by another inmate last year, and for that reason, Senio was unable to walk, meaning he had no choice but to remain a stay-at-home.

Sunia said the information disclosed by the defense attorney has the court concerned for his client’s safety, if he is ordered to be remanded back into custody at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) in Tafuna.

So, said Sunia, the only option is to release the defendant from custody, under the condition that he appear in court whenever his case is called.

“If you fail at anytime to appear in court, the court’s concern for your safety is gone, and you will be ordered to go back to TCF,” Sunia warned Senio, whose next hearing is scheduled for Mar. 8.