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No bail for man charged after alleged attempt to cut his sponsor’s throat

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The man charged with second degree attempted murder and first degree assault for allegedly trying to slice his sponsor's throat is remanded to custody without bail, due to his immigration status.

Vaimoe Seumalu appeared in District Court yesterday for a status hearing, as the court wanted to know more about his immigration status.

According to information provided to the court by an Immigration officer, Seumalu's name as it appears in the immigration system, as well as his passport, is Savelio Vaimoe, and his ID expired July 23, 2018.

Furthermore, his sponsor (also the victim in this case) had terminated sponsorship on October 17, 2018 based on immigration filings.

Bail for Vaimoe was initially set at $100,000 but was later reduced to $75,000

However, given his immigration status, Judge Fiti Sunia remanded Vaimoe back to custody on a 'no bail' status. Sunia explained that setting bond would mean an illegal immigrant can be released back into the community, and this is contrary to the law.

"The court notes that the allegations in this case involve the sponsor," Sunia said. "And it appears to the court that the supposed termination was a response to what's alleged by the government."

According to the government's case, Vaimoe became upset when his sponsor declined to give him a portion of an $11,000 FEMA check that was issued for damages to the home that was occupied by Vaimoe and his family during Tropical Cyclone Gita last year.

Vaimoe is alleged to have used a knife to slice his sponsor's throat - twice - while the victim was asleep. The victim did not sustain any injuries.

Sunia told the Immigration officer that the termination of sponsorship suggests that it was "dangled out there as bait." He concluded, "This is something worth looking into."

Vaimoe's next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 30