Plea agreement saves man from possible life sentence in stabbing case
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 24-year-old male from Samoa accused of stabbing someone in the neck multiple times over a year ago, has admitted to the accusation.
Arborday Utulele appeared in court this past week for a Change of Plea hearing. Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Doug Lowe while Assistant Public Defender, Rob McNeill is representing the defendant, who has been in custody without bail since his arrest December 2018.
Utulele was initially charged with one count of first degree assault, a class A felony, punishable by imprisonment between 10-30 years, or a life sentence. However, under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, Utulele pled guilty to the amended charge of second degree assault, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Utulele admits that on Dec. 16, 2018, he caused serious injuries to the victim by stabbing his neck with a knife multiple times.
According to terms of the plea agreement, it was 2 weeks before Christmas 2018 that cops at the Tafuna Substation received a phone call from the victim’s family, asking for assistance due to the severity of his injuries.
Cops who responded say they arrived and noticed a person lying on the ground in a pool of blood that covered the other side of his head. One of the witnesses told police he saw Utulele pull a sharp object from his pocket and assault the victim. The knife had a 6-inch blade and is considered a deadly weapon.
The government is recommending to the court to sentence Utulele to probation, with the condition that he immediately depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of his sentence.
Sentencing is set for Jan. 28, 2020.