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Birthday party host pleads guilty to assault

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 38-year-old man accused of assaulting another person with a piece of metal has pled out.

Fred Sopoaga, who has been in custody since his arrest last year, unable to post a $10,000 bond, appeared in High Court this week for a Change of Plea hearing.

He was originally charged with second degree assault and false imprisonment, both class D felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

But under a plea agreement with the government, Sopoaga pled guilty to second degree assault. The remaining charge was dismissed. With his guilty plea, Sopoaga admits that on July 20, 2018 he knowingly caused physical injury to the victim by striking his head with a piece of metal, twice.

According to the plea agreement, Sopoaga was having a birthday party with his friends, including the victim, at his Tafuna home. During the party, a verbal altercation erupted between Sopoaga and the victim, which resulted in the defendant assaulting the victim by striking him twice in the head with the piece of metal.

The victim was rushed to the LBJ Hospital for treatment, and according to a report from the physician who treated him, 8 stitches were needed to close the head wound.

Sopoaga will be sentenced Apr. 30.