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Courtroom attacker had long criminal history in Utah

Published April 21, 2014 6:18 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Siale Angilau was a get for law enforcement.

A career criminal and known member of the Tongan Crip Gang, Angilau helped wreak havoc throughout the Salt Lake Valley before he was shot and killed Monday inside a federal courtroom by a U.S. marshal.

Federal prosecutors alleged that the man committed and aided in crimes that ranged from assault to armed robbery to murder, according to court documents. In 2010, federal, state and local officials charged Angilau and 16 of his fellow TCG members in federal court with a slew of crimes that threatened to land each defendant in prison for years.

For prosecutors, it was a major step toward "dismantling the gang."

Then-Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller boasted, "We have cut off the head of the snake."

For Angilau, known in the TCG organization as "C-Down," it was the latest in a long history of run-ins with the law.

Although this time he was facing racketeering charges — which could have landed him in federal prison for decades to come — Angilau, 25, had already spent many years behind bars.

Angilau was accused of committing several armed robberies and assaults at 7-Eleven stores throughout the valley, dating as far back as 2002, when he allegedly robbed a store and assaulted the clerk.

In late July of 2007, Angilau allegedly went one step further — by participating in a 7-Eleven robbery where one clerk was assaulted and another was shot and wounded.

The next month, he was involved in an episode where an accomplice shot at two deputy U.S. marshals, who were not injured.

Angilau pleaded guilty in state court to obstruction of justice and failure to stop at the command of police in connection to the marshals' shooting.

When he was sentenced, a prosecutor and representative of the U.S. Marshals Service agreed to recommend against federal charges.

But recommendations only go so far.

Over the next two years, Angilau was indicted two more times for alleged crimes directly related to the marshals' shooting: in 2008 on assault and firearm charges and in 2009 on two more assault charges.

In a deal with prosecutors in May 2009, Angilau pleaded guilty to the original robbery charges and prosecutors dismissed the remaining assault and firearm counts.

One year later, prosecutors filed yet another new case with four counts related to shooting at the U.S. marshals — one count of racketeering, one count of assaulting a federal officer, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and one count of using a firearm during violent crime.

Angilau's attorney had argued in his federal court case that the assault-related charges were a violation of his rights against double jeopardy — since prosecutors previously dismissed the assault and firearm counts.

U.S. District Court Judge Tena Campbell agreed, and ordered the initial assault and firearm charges dismissed.The judge said prosecutors could, however, proceed with the racketeering, assault and dangerous weapons counts.

After unsuccessfully appealing his case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last summer, Angilau's trial in the racketeering case had just begun Monday morning, when he allegedly attacked a witness and was fatally wounded by a U.S. Marshal.

Of the 16 other TCG members indicted, six defendants took plea deals, six defendants were convicted in September 2011 following a five-week trial, two were acquitted and charges against two defendants were dismissed in 2012.

mlang@sltrib.com

Twitter: @Marissa_Jae