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Alleged machete attack in Vaitogi lands one man in jail, another in the hospital

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man had to fight for his life at the LBJ Hospital after he sustained severe head injuries when another man allegedly struck him with a machete during a confrontation in Vaitogi last week.

Alapati Wilson made his initial appearance before Judge Elvis P. Patea last week. He is charged with first degree assault, a class A felony punishable by life imprisonment, or a jail term between 10-30 years; and one count of public peace disturbance, a class B misdemeanor. Bail is set at $30,000.

Wilson’s defense attorney asked to reduce bail to $10,000 surety; but prosecutor Laura Garvey argued that Wilson’s alleged actions were serious and show the type of person he is. She asked that bail be maintained and the court agreed.


On Jan. 25, 2020, a woman called the Tafuna Substation to report an assault next to her home in Vaitogi. Several officers responded and met up with the caller, who spoke to police outside of her home before she called for the victim, who was in her kitchen.

Police observed that the victim’s head was wrapped with a blue t-shirt and blood was coming from the side. EMS was notified and the victim was transported to the LBJ Hospital for treatment.

Officers interviewed a trio of eyewitnesses. Two of them said they saw the victim running to his house from the malae while Wilson — armed with a machete — was chasing him. Wilson then struck the victim on the head with the machete, resulting in severe injuries.

The third witness provided more details, as he was with the victim prior to the incident. According to him, they were picking breadfruit in front of the victim’s house when Wilson’s daughter approached him saying her dad wanted him to come to their house, to discuss something.

The witness said the victim told Wilson’s daughter to go home and tell her dad to wait until he’s done with his chores. Not long afterwards, the victim saw Wilson walking towards him with a machete in hand.

When Wilson got closer, the victim ran to his house, not far away.

The witness told police that the victim fell in front of his house, and that’s when Wilson struck him on the head with the machete. According to the witness, Wilson’s first attempt to strike the victim did not connect, and it was the second strike that resulted in head injuries to the victim — injuries so severe that the victim had to be admitted to LBJ.

A report from the hospital notes that the victim sustained a laceration at the back of his head and 7 stitches were needed to close the wound.

Officers were able to interview the victim at the hospital regarding the incident. His story was exactly the same as the statement the third witness provided to police. The victim said that in addition to being struck with the machete, Wilson also punched and kicked him multiple times.

Luckily, a woman who was at the scene was able to push Wilson away from the victim.

Wilson refused to make a statement. It is unclear what sparked the alleged assault but those who knew the two men claim that it was over gossip.


The case has been bound over to High Court after Judge Elvis P. Patea found probable cause during a preliminary examination (PX) yesterday afternoon. Despite strong opposition from the defense, Patea said the government presented sufficient evidence to support its case against Wilson, who will appear in High Court today for arraignment.

Only one witness testified during the PX: DPS Officer Sosene Faiai.