Records: Man shot in court had vowed to behave

April 23, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Tongan Crip gang defendant who was fatally shot by a U.S. marshal while attacking a witness during a federal court trial had promised a judge earlier that he would behave, a court transcript shows.

The vow came at the beginning of the trial on Monday, when an attorney for defendant Siale Angilau asked the judge if she could help get Angilau moved back to his normal prison cell.

Lawyer Michael Langford told U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell that Angilau hadn’t had a shower, didn’t have access to his legal papers and wasn’t in “the best of moods,” the transcript shows.

Campbell spoke with U.S. marshals and arranged for a possible transfer before asking: “You’ll be on your best behavior, right, Mr. Angilau?”

The 25-year-old Angilau responded: “Yeah.”

A short time later, while the first witness was testifying about gang recruiting, an unknown person said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa,” the transcript states.

At that point, “the defendant attacked the witness and the trial was terminated,” the document states.

Authorities said Angilau tried to strike witness Vaiola Tenifa — a member of the same Tongan Crip gang as Angilau — with a pen before a U.S. marshal fired several shots, hitting Angilau in the chest. He died later at a hospital.

The details of the transcript were first reported by The Salt Lake Tribune.

Angilau was one of 17 people named in a 2010 indictment accusing Tongan Crip members of assault, conspiracy, robbery and weapons offenses. He was the last defendant in the case to stand trial, with previous defendants being sentenced to 10 to 30 years in prison.

About 30 minutes after the shooting, Judge Campbell brought the attorneys back into the courtroom and declared a mistrial.

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