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Man convicted for assault and PPD ordered to leave territory

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 36-year-old man with a criminal history has been ordered to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders upon release from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF), as a condition of his 5-year probation.

Sagato Afasene, who has been in custody unable to post a $10,000 surety bond, appeared in court last week for sentencing.

He was initially charged with 2nd degree assault, a felony; and two misdemeanors: third degree assault and public peace disturbance. But under a plea agreement with the government, Afasene pled guilty to 2nd degree assault. The remaining charges were dismissed.

Afasene admits that on or about Aug. 13, 2019 he caused severe injuries to a 40-year-old Mesepa man, by striking his back with a piece of lumber.

Last week, Afasene apologized to the court and begged for another chance. He said he has an anger problem that needs to be addressed through counseling.

“I want to go home to care for my wife and five children. I’m truly remorseful for what I did, it was not me who stirred up everything, it was the devil who was living inside me who tempted me to act violently,” Afasene told the court.

Defense attorney Ryan Anderson asked for a probated sentence, with the condition that Afasene attend and complete an anger management counseling program. However, due to Afasene’s illegal immigration status, Anderson said he agrees with Probation, that his client needs to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of probation.

Afasene has a criminal history — two convictions for third degree assault and property damage in District Court, and another conviction in High Court from 8 years ago when he assaulted his neighbor during a drinking session by striking the man’s head with a shovel

The defendant was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. Execution of sentence was suspended, and he was placed on probation for 5 years under certain conditions. He has to serve 20 months in prison without release, and he is credited for the 16 months he has already served at the TCF.

Upon release from detention, Afasene is ordered to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of his probation. If Afasene’s period of detention expires while the borders are still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the court orders him to continue to remain in custody until the borders are opened and he is able to depart the territory.

A copy of the court’s decision shall be served to the Chief Immigration Officer to ensure that Afasene’s name is on the “lookout list”.