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Plea bargain nets man his freedom

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The 26-year-old man, who was convicted of breaking into a house, was ordered by the court to serve a period of detention of 12 months, as a condition of his 5-year probation.

Ronald Talaleu who was released on bond, was originally charged with 1st degree burglary and resisting arrest; however, under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court last week, he pled guilty to the amended charge of 2nd degree attempted burglary.

With his guilty plea, Talaleu admits that on June 5, 2020, with the intent to steal, he entered his neighbor's home with a machete in hand.

Talaleu appeared in court last week for sentencing. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender, Ryan Anderson, while Assistant Attorney General, Kristine Soule was prosecuting.

When given the chance to address the court, Talaleu apologized for what he did and asked the court for a second chance so that he can go back home and care for his family. He also told the court that he’s truly remorseful for what he did.

Anderson asked the court for a probated sentence, saying that his client is a first offender and has taken full responsibility for his actions. The prosecutor echoed the defense attorney’s submission, saying that the defendant is a young man who made a careless mistake.

In delivering its decision, the court stated that according to the Pre Sentence Report, Talaleu was convicted of 2nd degree attempted burglary. The court also stated that the defendant told the Probation Office that the reason he went to the house where he was caught was to get drugs from a man who lives at the house. However, the man was not at the house when Talaleu entered.

Talaleu was sentenced to a period of probation of 5 years, subject to several conditions from the court. He has to serve a period of detention of 20 months, however, he will be credited for time served, while awaiting his bond being posted last year, which was 4 months. The balance of detention will be stayed until further order of the court.

Upon release from prison, Mauga was ordered to seek and retain gainful employment.