‘Intended victim’ calls the police to report stabbing after one alleged assailant attacks the other
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The case of a man accused of causing serious bodily harm to another man in Petesa last month has been bound over to High Court, after the Court found probable cause to support the charges during a preliminary examination (PX) last week.
Aleki Ualesi who is held in custody without bond due to his illegal immigration status appeared in court last week for his PX.
Ualesi is charged with one count of attempted murder and one count of first-degree assault, both class A felonies.
During court proceedings, the prosecutor called one witness: PSO Sefo, who testified that Ualesi and another man went to a house to kill another man who assaulted their cousin two days prior to the incident. But things changed after Ualesi allegedly stabbed the man he came with (victim/ relative) multiple times with a knife.
On the night of Sept. 11th, PSO Tafa said a man called in to police and requested assistance regarding a stabbing in front of his Tafuna home. At the same time, the caller requested medical assistance at the scene.
When they arrived, police observed an injured male lying on the ground motionless, bleeding, while the caller was applying pressure to the wounds. The suspect (Ualesi) apparently fled the scene before cops arrived.
According to the witness, the victim sustained multiple defensive wounds on his left arm and a puncture wound on his chest, and he was covered with blood. The victim was immediately transported to the hospital for treatment. Officers returned to the scene to locate the suspect but were unsuccessful.
Around 6 a.m. the next morning, the witness, along with other cops, went to the suspect’s home to look for him and they met up with the suspect’s wife, who told police that her husband (defendant) never came home, and she had no idea what happened.
The government witness said that when they arrived at the suspect’s wife’s home, they were greeted by a male — later identified as the landlord — who gave officers consent to enter the home and look for the suspect. The suspect’s wife also consented to cops checking her room.
Police searched the room and found the suspect hiding inside. The suspect was apprehended and transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for questioning, along with his wife.
According to the lead investigator’s testimony, Witness #1 (intended victim) told her that he was getting ready for bed when his wife came and told him that two guys were standing in front of the house asking for him.
When he got to the front door, he said he asked one of the men why he was there and why he had brought Aleki Ualesi (defendant) to his home. The man did not respond, however, Ualesi responded and said he wanted to speak to him regarding the incident where he assaulted their cousin two days ago in front of a store in the area.
Witness #1 told Ualesi and the other man to get off his land before he called the police. Witness #1 heard the other man say something, and he then told them again to get off his property. At this time, Ualesi turned around and punched the other man, who ran as Ualesi was running after him while throwing multiple punches. (It is not clear what caused Ualesi to turn around and attack the other man.)
The other man ran towards Witness #1, hitting the door and falling, at which point Ualesi stood over him, continuously throwing punches at the other man. Witness #1 said he saw the man bleeding and realized that an instrument was being used, He said he saw Ualesi holding a knife in his right hand.
That’s when Witness #1 intervened and the defendant got up and took off. Police were contacted immediately. The government witness said that Witness #2, (witness #1’s wife) echoed Witness #1’s statement to her during their interview.
Witness #2 said she didn’t know what was going on, but the two guys seemed angry. According to the government, Witness #2 told her that the main reason Ualesi and the victim (the other man) came to their house that night, was to kill her husband for beating up their cousin in front of the store in the village.
Witness #2 explained to police the incident, where Ualesi accused her husband of assaulting their cousin. According to Witness #2, Ualesi’s cousin was very intoxicated and was out of control in front of the store. As they walked to the store, Ualesi’s cousin approached them and allegedly punched her husband for no reason. Her husband turned around, slapped Ualesi’s cousin before he pushed him on the ground.
When questioned by police, Ualesi said he was too drunk and mad at the victim — the other man — and that’s why he stabbed him numerous times. He strongly denied the allegation that they went to the witness’ home to kill him. He stated that there was no such plan like that. The only reason why they went to the man’s (witness) home was to confront him about the incident where he assaulted their 22-year-old cousin.
Based on the evidence presented by the government, the court is satisfied that there is probable cause to bind the case over to High Court. He said that despite strong opposition from the defense, arguing that there were no severe injuries to the victim’s body, it is clear from the detective’s observation that the injuries were serious.
The court reminded the defense that the only job of the court is to determine whether there is probable cause to bind the case over, while it is the jury’s duty to look at all the evidence and facts of the case during trial.