Escape at Dist. Court doesn’t quit work out for man in domestic violence case
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — An inmate who escaped from District Court while he was under police custody is now charged.
Matthew Vili appeared in court this week for his initial appearance on the new case against him. He is charged with one count of escape from custody, a class D felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
On Jan. 31, 2021, Mathew Vili was arrested based upon violence allegations. He appeared in court on Feb. 2nd and was charged with one count of felonious restraints (involving domestic violence), a class C felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 7 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both; one count of 2nd degree assault (involving domestic violence), a class D felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both, along with one count of 3rd degree assault, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
Bail was set at $15,000 and Vili was remanded back into custody after he was unable to post bond.
On Apr. 21, 2021, Vili, along with other inmates, appeared again in court for another court hearing. Inmates were handcuffed to each other in pairs.
Around 8:44a.m, a police unit arrived from District Court to transport inmates from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) to their court hearings, which were in different court buildings.
A TCF guard proceeded to remove the handcuffs from Vili’s end of the handcuffs and instructed him (Vili) to follow another TCF guard and other inmates into the District Court building. During that time, Vili continued sitting on the bench and instructed two other inmates who were sitting on the farthest bench to go before him. At that time, a TCF guard escorted a female inmate inside the courtroom.
At about 8:53a.m, Vili observed no no TCF guard, marshals, or any police officer near him and that’s when he stood up, walked straight to the door and exited the District Court. From there, he continued walking to the bus stop near the pavilion, where he caught an aiga bus and left the area.
A hour later, one of the marshals contacted police headquarters, notifying them that inmate Vili had escaped from custody.
Around 3:30p.m on the same day, Vili voluntarily went to the TCF and turned himself in.