Court accepts plea agreements in two cases
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The second defendant arrested in connection with the Tutuila Warehouse burglary and theft case has entered into a plea agreement with the government.
Michael Mikaele, who has been in custody since his arrest in August of this year, unable to post a $5,000 surety bon, appeared before Associate Justice Fiti Sunia yesterday for a Change of Plea hearing. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill while prosecuting was Assistant Attorney General Doug Lowe.
Mikaele was initially charged with stealing and first degree burglary, both class C felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to 7 years, a $5,000 fine or pursuant to A.S.C.A 46.2101, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from the commission of said crime, up to a maximum of $20,000, or both such fine and imprisonment for each count.
However, under a plea agreement with the government, Mikaele pled guilty to the amended charge of conspiracy to commit second degree burglary, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
Mikaele admits that on Oct. 20, 2018, with the help of another person, he entered the Tutuila Warehouse in Tafuna for the purpose of committing a crime. While inside, he and his accomplice stole several items with a total value exceeding $1,300.
Mikaele will be sentenced Jan. 8, 2020.
DISPOSITION HEARING LAST WEEK
Mikaele, who was serving 5 years probation for a marijuana possession conviction 3 years ago, appeared before Chief Justice Michael Kruse last Friday for a Disposition Hearing, for violating conditions of probation.
Mikaele smoke weed and failed to make his monthly visit to Probation.
Mikaele apologized to the court and asked for a second chance, so he can go home and care for his family, especially his three young children.
Both sides asked for a second chance, and the court granted it. According to Probation, the court ordered Mikaele to serve 20 months at the TCF as a condition of his 5 year probation. However, only 6 months of detention was served, as the remaining 14 months was stayed by order of the court.
Kruse told Mikaele that the court will not revoke his probation, but modify it. He then ordered Mikaele to serve 90 days at the TCF. Kruse told Mikaele that if he continues to violate conditions of probation, the court will order him to serve 90 days each time he appears in court for a Disposition Hearing. “It’s up to you to decide what is best for you and your family. Whether you continue to take illegal drugs or change your life,” Kruse said.
A young man accused of private peace disturbance (PPD) and damaging his dad’s house entered into a plea agreement with the government last week in District Court.
Viliamu Kalolo, who has been released on his own recognizance, was initially charged with PPD and second degree property damage. But under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, Kalolo pled guilty to the amended charge of third degree property damage.
Kalolo admits that on Aug. 18, 2019, he destroyed his dad’s property by breaking the windows of his house and also damaging the doors and walls.
When asked why he did what he did, Kalolo said he was mad at his family.
Judge Elvis P. Patea sentenced Kalolo to 6 months imprisonment and a $500 fine. The execution of sentence is suspended and Kalolo is placed on probation for 6 months subject to several conditions.
“If you violate any condition of your probation, the court will revoke it and you will be ordered to serve the suspended imprisonment term of 6 months. So, change your ways and comply with all the court's orders,” Patea advised Kalolo.