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Man withdraws guilty plea in connection with murder of teen

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Posted at 5:12 PM, Sep 26, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-26 19:12:52-04

SALT LAKE CITY – A suspected gang member who initially agreed to a guilty plea in connection with the fatal shooting of a 19 year old last year is withdrawing his guilty plea.

Vilisoni Angilau withdrew the guilty plea Friday morning at the Matheson Courthouse, saying that when he made the plea he was under extreme emotional duress due to the shooting death of his brother.

Angilau had pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge in the death of 19-year-old Sione Fakatoufifita, who was shot to death in the parking lot of a Maverik store in Salt Lake City on April 13 of 2013. Around that same time, Angilau’s brother—Siale Angilau—was shot to death by a U.S. Marshal after Siale Angilau charged at a witness during his own trial in a federal court.

The attorney for Vilisoni Angilau, Michael Langford, said that since that time his client has considered changing his mind about the plea and has now done so.

"Mr. Angilau wishes to withdraw his plea because it's his belief that, at the time he entered his plea, that he was under a lot of stress because his brother had been killed in the federal courthouse,” he said. “I think his intention right now is to demand a trial."

It would appear the man will go to trial on murder and obstruction of justice charges rather than accept the deal previously agreed to. A meeting is scheduled for next week to discuss the matter. If a trial is required, it is likely to take place sometime next year.