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Man who used a machete handle to assault another man gets 20 months

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of using the handle of a machete to assault another man has been sentenced to 20 months imprisonment for second degree felony assault.

Allen Tagaloa was initially charged with first degree assault, a felony punishable by a possible life sentence, or between 10-30 years behind bars.

But under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, the government amended the initial count to second degree assault, still a felony, but punishable by 5 years imprisonment or a fine of $5,000.

Court information states that the victim suffered serious injuries from the assault, in which Tagaloa first used his fist and then resorted to the handle of a machete.

During sentencing last week in High Court, Tagaloa apologized and sought leniency, saying he is remorseful and what he did was wrong. However, he didn’t offer an apology to the victim or his family.

Defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill, told the court that his client is  prepared to accept whatever decision the court hands down. He echoed the Probation Office’s recommendation for a probated sentence.

Prosecutor Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey supported the defense submission but asked that Tagaloa attend and complete anger management counseling.

According to court information, Tagaloa and the victim were having a drinking session in the defendant’s backyard on the night of Flag Day last year. The victim became too drunk and Tagaloa instructed him to go home because he was causing trouble. The victim refused and told Tagaloa that he has no business chasing him off the land, because they are drinking on his family (victim) land.

The victim punched Tagaloa, who then left and came back armed with a machete. Tagaloa punched the victim twice in the face, causing the victim to fall to the ground, before he used the handle of the machete to assault him.

Luckily, according to the court, the injuries were not too serious.

The court sentenced Tagaloa to 5 years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine, but both were suspended under several conditions. Tagaloa must serve 20 months at the TCF as part of his 5-year probation term, and he has to pay a $500 fine. The remaining balance is suspended, as long as Tagaloa complies with all conditions of probation.

He is also ordered to attend and complete anger management counseling, and remain alcohol and drug free. The court has strongly advised Tagaloa not to make any direct or indirect contact with the victim and/or his family.