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Young man with long criminal history pleads down charges

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young man from Mesepa with a long criminal history entered into a plea agreement with the government last week during court proceedings before District Court Judge Fiti Sunia.

Vaimauga Filisi, who is on probation, was initially charged with 4 misdemeanors including 2 counts of third degree assault, resisting arrest, and public peace disturbance (PPD).

However, under the plea agreement, Filisi pled guilty to PPD and the remaining charges were dismissed.

With his guilty plea, Filisi admits that on Apr. 29, 2018 in Mesepa, he was involved in a fight, during which he became loud and created fear to others.

Judge Sunia sentenced Filisi to 6 months (180 days) probation.

According to court records, Filisi has been detained since his arrest and therefore has already served 152 days in prison.

The court has ordered that Filisi be released from the TCF but he will remain there, pending a hearing to revoke his probation in the High Court tomorrow at 9 a.m.

During court proceedings, Filisi apologized for what he did, saying he is remorseful and that he has learned his lesson. He also apologized to his mother and family, especially those who were affected by his actions.

The government's case states that on the day of the incident, police responded to a call from someone in the Mesepa area, requesting police assistance to a disturbance.

When cops arrived, an unknown male who was later identified as Filisi, yelled profanities at the police and asked them to leave the area.

In 2015, the High Court placed Filisi on probation for five years, after he was convicted of felony driving and resisting arrest. As a condition of his probation, he was ordered to serve 20 months at the TCF and remain a law abiding citizen.


Alfred Atonio, charged with public peace disturbance, made his initial appearance in District Court, where Judge Fiti Sunia ordered that he be released on his own recognizance under certain conditions.

He is to keep the peace at his home at all times, and he is to refrain from bothering his cousin — the victim. He is also ordered to be law abiding and to stay in close contact with his attorney, Assistant Public Defender, Ryan Anderson.

According to the government’s case, it was around 6p.m on Sept 12, 2018 when the defendant allegedly started throwing things around the house, breaking the window louvers.

He also assaulted his cousin and yelled profanities.

To maintain the peace inside their home, Atonio's grandmother escorted him to the police station and requested that officers take him to the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).

The defendant was booked and confined at TCF for one night, before making his initial appearance the next morning, Sept. 13, in District Court.

Atonio is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 5 for his pretrial conference.