Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man convicted of assaulting his niece with the handle of a shovel was ordered by the court to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders as a condition of his 5-year probation.
Taumafai Siitia, who has been in custody since his arrest in July of last year unable to post a $10,000 surety bond appeared in Court last week for sentencing.
Siitia, 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, Siitia 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 has taught him a lesson that jail is not a good place for him.
His defense attorney asked the court for a probated sentence without any additional period of detention, which was also echoed by the prosecutor in this matter.
The court sentenced 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 Tafuna Correctional Facility (TCF) without any release whatsoever. Upon release from detention, Siitia must immediately depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the remaining period of his probation. He would only be released to the Probation Office and transported to his port of exit after her served his time.
The court stated that based on the information provided by Probation, the defendant was here on a tourist visa.
Furthermore, the court ordered that the certified copy of the Judgment and Sentence must be served upon the Chief Immigration Office or his assignee to make sure the defendant’s name is on their lookout list.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred in July of last year when Siitia and two of his buddies were drinking in front of a house, when it started raining. At that point, Siitia and his friends made their way into the house, owned by his aunt.
At the time, his niece — and her aunt who was off island and owns the home — were talking to each other over the phone, and the aunt is alleged to have told her niece to tell Siitia to get out of the house. When the niece delivered the message, Siitia became enraged and assaulted the niece with the handle of a shovel.
Siitia was arrested the next day when he was found by police.