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Another stabbing case —man from Samoa who assaulted his neighbor sentenced

Terriorial Corectional Facility (TCF)

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 45-year-old man from Samoa convicted of assaulting his neighbor by stabbing his back twice with a knife and punching him in the face multiple times is going to jail.

Eric Afitu, who has been in custody since his arrest last year, unable to post a $10,000 surety bond, was ordered to serve 20 months detention, as a condition of a 5-year probation sentence.

Upon release from detention, Afitu is to immediately depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of probation.

Afitu was initially charged with first-degree assault and second-degree burglary, both felonies, and two misdemeanors: third degree assault and property damage. But under a plea agreement with the government, Afitu pled guilty to the amended count of second-degree assault. The remaining charges were dismissed.

Afitu told the court that he's ashamed of what he did to his neighbor, who is like a brother to him. “I’m truly remorseful for what I did. All I ask for is your leniency. I want to go back home, and rebuild my life…” Afitu said.

Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson asked for a probated sentence without any additional period of detention. He asked the court to use the 14 months his client has been in custody as his sentence. The prosecutor disagreed.

Assistant Attorney General Doug Lowe said Afitu is a danger to his neighbor and to the community. He asked the court to order Afitu to depart the territory after serving his detention at TCF.

Afitu's criminal record carried a lot of weight when the court handed down its decision. In 2006, he was placed on probation for a year following a DUI conviction. Three years later, he was convicted of unlawful possession of illegal drugs and was placed on 5 years probation. Then in 2012, he was convicted of misdemeanor stealing and placed on probation for one year.

For this case, Afitu was sentenced to 5 years probation and a fine of $2,000

Execution of imprisonment is suspended, and he is placed on probation for 5 years, under the condition that he immediately depart the territory upon serving 20 months at the TCF. The court has ordered the government to contact Afitu’s sponsor to pay his $2,000 fine.