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Disagreement during volleyball game leads to assault charge

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 26-year-old man from Pago Pago who is accused of using a piece of timber to assault another man has been arrested and charged with second degree assault, a felony; and two misdemeanor charges: property damage, and unlawful use of a weapon.

Anetele’a Valoaga made his initial appearance in the District Court last week where he waived his right to a preliminary examination. His next court appearance is set for tomorrow at 9a.m. in High Court where he is expected to enter a 'not guilty' plea.

According to the government, Valoaga and the victim got into a disagreement during a volleyball game. The victim allegedly pushed Valoaga to the ground before Valoaga stood up and allegedly punched the victim in the face, causing the victim to fall down.

Valoaga then allegedly picked up a piece of timber which was lying beside him and struck the victim in the head.

Valoaga’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender, Ryan Anderson, asked the court for a reduction in bail from $5,000 to $1,000.

Anderson told the court his client is a hardworking man and is the only member of his family who works to provide for his wife and two children. He said his client is not a flight risk, and he has no intentions of leaving his family.

Prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell opposed the defense's motion, saying bail set by the court is the appropriate amount for the offense the defendant is accused of.

District Court Judge Fiti Sunia agreed, and denied the motion; therefore, bail remains at $5,000.

Valoaga remains in custody at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).