Man convicted of hitting his niece with a pipe will be deported
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man convicted of assaulting his niece with a metal pipe was ordered by the court to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders as a condition of his 5 years probation.
Lomi Fuatia, who has been in custody since his arrest in August of last year unable to post a $5,000 surety bond, appeared in High Court last week for sentencing.
Fuatia, an overstayer, was originally charged with 2nd degree assault, the charge he pled guilty to, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
When given the chance to address the court, Fuatia apologized for his action and begged for a second chance to return home to his wife and children. He also told the court that he felt truly remorseful for what he did and the time he spent in prison taught him a lesson that jail is not a good place for him.
His defense attorney asked the court for a probated sentenced without any additional period of detention, which was also echoed by the prosecutor in this matter.
The court sentence the defendant to 5 years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine. Execution of sentence was suspended and the defendant was placed on probation for 5 years subject to several conditions.
He shall serve 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) without any release whatsoever. Upon release from detention, Fuatia must immediately depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the remaining period of his probation.
The court stated that based on the information provided by Probation, the defendant was here on a tourist visa.
The court ordered that once the defendant finished serving his detention and all of his travel arrangements were completed, he will only be released to the Probation Office and then transported to his port of exit.
Furthermore, the court ordered that the certified copy of the Judgment and Sentence must be served upon the Chief Immigration Officer or his assignee to make sure the defendant’s name is on their lookout list.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred in August of last year when Fuatia and two of his buddies were drinking in front of a house. Fuatia was arrested on the next day, August 23, 2020.
According to the criminal complaint, when it started raining, Fuatia and his friends made their way into the home. At that point, his niece and her aunt, who was off island and owns the home, were talking to each other over the phone.
The aunt allegedly heard noises in the background during the conversation with her niece. The aunt is alleged to have told her niece to tell Fuatia to get out of the house. When the niece delivered the message, Fuatia became enraged.
He allegedly grabbed a metal pipe and struck the victim on the back, while she was not looking. The girl turned around in time to put her elbow up to shield herself from the second strike, which caused injuries to her arm.
Fuatia's third swing missed the victim who dashed out of the house and sought refuge at the neighbor's home, from where she contacted police for assistance.
When cops arrived at the scene, they heard the victim's side of the story and EMS personnel were contacted to render medical assistance. Fuatia was nowhere to be found.
Police were able to apprehend him the next day.