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Alleged domestic abuse stems from disputes over money matters


Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — On April 16, 2024, the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a phone call from an off- duty officer reporting an alleged domestic dispute regarding her cousin. It was reported that the victim was allegedly assaulted by her boyfriend.

The suspect was later apprehended and charged with the following.

Count 1: Private Peace Disturbance (DV), a class C misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to fifteen days, a fine of $300 but not less than $150, or both;

Count 2: Assault in the Third Degree (DV), a class A misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of $1,000 but not less than $150, or both; and

Counts 3 & 4: Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a class A misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of $1,000, or both.

Bail for the defendant was set at $3000.

(Samoa News has withheld names of those involved to protect the identities of the children involved in this case.)

According to the affidavit, an investigation reported that on April 16, at approximately 8:25 p.m, an off-duty officer called the TPS to report that her cousin called her and was told that her boyfriend (suspect) had beaten her up at her home in Kokoland.

Upon arrival at the scene, police officers met with the victim who explained to them what had happened. More officers arrived at the scene to assist in transporting the victim and her children to the TPS to be processed, including contacting Child Protective Services (CPS).

Officers were informed that the suspect had fled the scene.

Upon arrival at the station, the dispatcher was told by police to contact the CPS to conduct their investigation.

An officer interviewed the victim at the TPS, according to the affidavit. The victim explained that she was at home when her boyfriend came to her house drunk and started questioning their 16 year-old if she had received any money on her Navy Fed account. The victim said she interrupted the suspect telling him there was no money in the account, and also told him to leave numerous times, but he refused to listen.

The victim stated the suspect started yelling at her, out of anger. Fearing for her life she ran towards the kitchen to call her cousin who is a police officer. As she was trying to look for her cousin’s phone number, her children (13 year-old & 16 year-old) were screaming saying “ Mommy! Daddy is holding a machete and he’s coming towards you!”

It was then that she turned around and was punched in the face by the suspect.

But, as soon as the suspect turned around, the victim was able to escape and ran to the store to contact her cousin. The victim stated that she did not see the machete when she was punched.

Police officers noted that the suspect has his own place in Petesa and does not live with the victim.

At about 9:21p.m that evening at the TPS, the victim’s 16-year-old daughter provided her statement.

In her statement, she explained that “her father (suspect) came home drunk and her mom (victim) told him to leave but he refused to leave and punched her mom in the face.” She further stated, “when she and her brother were trying to hold him, he went out of the house to get the machete.” The 16-year-old daughter also said that her father no longer lives with them.

The victim’s 13-year-old son also provided a statement.

He said that “his father came home drunk and asked what they were eating and was told it was sandwiches.” He stated that the suspect was angry and “punched his mother while holding a beer can.” It was then that he and his sister held their father (suspect) back to ensure that their mother could “run away safely,” as he was walking out of the house to grab the machete.

After the victim and witnesses provided their statements, police officers were notified that the suspect lives behind TSM Mart.

As police officers approached the suspect’s home, they observed the suspect standing outside of the house and called out for him to come towards them. The suspect was then apprehended and as the police officers were escorting him to the police unit, they could smell a strong odor of alcohol emitting from his breath.

Police reported that the suspect challenged officers to a fist fight as they were escorting him to the car to be transported to the TCF.

The suspect was Mirandized upon arrival at TCF.

Police officers noted that the suspect refused to cooperate. According to the affidavit, the suspect was “very agitated” as “he displayed bloodshot eyes and his speech was slurred.”

The defendant was booked and later transported to the Tafuna Correctional Facility (TCF) to be confined.

Child Protective Services did conduct their investigation and the family was able to return home.

The suspect was identified as a 43-year-old US National.