Public alarmed seeing violent inmate at graduation
“The Commissioner (of Public Safety) and the Warden have the authority to allow inmates to attend family functions, such as in this case, Mike Agasiva’s daughter’s graduation and Akeki Manu’s daughter’s wedding… just as long as there is a police officer escorting the inmates they are good to go… also this is not the first time this has happened,” said Acting Commissioner of Public Safety Leiseua Vaitoelau Laumoli in responding to Samoa News queries.
Samoa News received numerous calls that Mike Agasiva was seen last night on KVZK TV attending Iakina’s graduation where his daughter was named Valedictorian. Mike Agasiva was convicted of second degree assault and public peace disturbance in 2011 where he was sentenced to serve five years in jail. At the same time, Samoa News was also informed that another inmate Akeki Manu was attending his daughter’s wedding over the weekend which raised a lot of flags. Akeki was arrested in 2005 for the murder of Galu Alenese, who Akeki stabbed and has been in jail since.
Samoa News asked the Acting Commissioner if there were any similar instances as these in the past. Leiseau explained that inmates who are allowed to attend family functions, such as graduations, funerals and weddings, are only those inmates who have been sentenced and are no longer under a pending status inside the TCF.
Samoa News contacted Warden Lumana’i Maifea who said he denied the requests when the inmates sought his approval, so instead they sought approval from the Acting Commissioner which was granted, and he declined to further comment on the issue.
Mike Agasiva was convicted following a bench Trial in December 2011 for assaulting another person on Sept. 29, 2009, after the tsunami hit the territory. He used the flat side of a machete, after he punched the victim several times.
Akeki Manu stabbed another man in Vatia in 2005. According to court information, police were called to Vatia around 10 p.m. Saturday because of a public peace disturbance. They met the victim who told them that he had been stabbed by Manu. The victim’s wife later drove him to the hospital where he underwent surgery. He slipped into a coma shortly after the surgery and died later of a heart attack.
It was pointed out to Samoa News by the mother of an inmate that under the American Samoa Code Annotated, inmates may be released for funerals. She had requested that her son be released for a family funeral, but was denied.
Found in ASCA 46.2522 —“Funeral release” means the release of an inmate to the community to attend the funeral of an immediate family member. Release to attend such funeral may be authorized between the hours of 6:00 o’clock A.M. and 6:00 o’clock P.M., for a maximum of 2 consecutive days. (4) “Immediate family member” means an inmate’s parent, spouse, or child.
Family members of other inmates incarcerated were disappointed that this move by DPS officials are not consistently upheld, and other inmates who wish to attend family functions such as funerals and weddings are denied.
One woman who contacted Samoa News, noted that “TCF is not a hotel where inmates check in and out when they have family obligations to attend.” She also said that government officials need to look into this, because if something happens while the inmate is out of TCF, the government is liable.