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Assault case filed after man attacked with rock

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man from Nuuuli accused of assaulting another man with a rock told the court the allegation against him is true. Sefulu Heremoni, who is on probation, was initially charged with resisting arrest and second degree assault, both felonies; and three 3 misdemeanors: two counts of third degree assault, and public peace disturbance.

Under a plea agreement with the government, Heremoni pled guilty to second degree assault, a class D felony, punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

Heremoni admits that on Jan. 19, 2020 in Malaeimi he assaulted a man by punching him in the face and striking his head with a rock causing the victim to fall down.

According to terms of the plea agreement, on the day of the incident, police responded to a call from someone in the Malaeimi area, regarding a disturbance, which resulted in serious injury to a male individual.

When cops arrived, an unknown male who was later identified as Heremoni was yelling profanities at bystanders, telling them to get away from his land while two men were helping with a male individual who was sitting on the concrete step of Heremoni’s house. The male individual sitting on the concrete step was later identified as the victim in this case. He was injured and bleeding from his head and facial area.

Officers quickly secured the area and got the matter under control. The victim was transported to the hospital for treatment while Heremoni was handcuffed and placed inside a police unit before he was transported to the Tafuna Police Substation for further investigation.

It was revealed during the investigation that the victim first punched Heremoni before Heremoni assaulted him. The victim fell and that’s when Heremoni grabbed a rock and struck him on the head while he was lying unconscious on the ground. The victim sustained serious injuries to his head.

The victim told officers that he went to Heremoni’s house to tell him to lock his dog up after his daughter was attacked by Heremoni’s dog. According to the victim, it was during the verbal confrontation that he assaulted Heremoni before Heremoni assaulted him.

In 2017, the Court placed Heremoni on probation for five years, following convictions for stealing and property damage. As a condition of probation, Heremoni was ordered to serve 20 months at the TCF and remain law abiding.

Heremoni admits that his actions in this recent incident violated conditions of his 2017 probation. Heremoni, who is still in custody unable to post a $5,000 cash bond, is scheduled for sentencing and a disposition hearing next month.