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Arrest made in domestic violence allegation that took place two years ago

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 32-year-old man from Tafeta is now in custody on the allegation that he dragged his girlfriend inside a vehicle and assaulted her in February of 2018.

It is not clear at this time why it took so long for the government to arrest Winston Toleafoa, the defendant in this case.


On the morning of Feb. 11th, 2018, a woman contacted the Tafuna Police Substation and requested police assistance regarding a young male individual who came uninvited on to their family land and allegedly assaulted her 25-year-old niece by dragging her into a pickup in an attempt to kidnap her niece,

Fortunately, the victim’s male cousin intervened and managed to free the victim from this male individual. The victim was then escorted to their home and cops were immediately alerted regarding the alleged incident.

The male individual was later identified as Toleafoa, the defendant in this case, while the female victim was later identified as the 25-year-old victim in this case.

During the course of the investigation, investigators were told that the defendant and the victim are boyfriend and girlfriend. The victim is staying with her aunty in Iliili because the victim’s parents are off-island for their medical check-ups. It was the victim’s aunty who contacted police for assistance.

When police arrived at the scene, they were informed by the victim’s cousin that the victim had gone to the TPS to file a complaint against her boyfriend, Toleafoa.

Police then returned to the TPS and met up with the victim and her aunty, who had accompanied her.

The victim’s aunty told investigators that after the victim was freed from Toleafoa she then saw Toleafoa take off running and was picked up by another vehicle that drove off at a high rate of speed.

According to the victim, she had just been dropped off by her two female cousins in front of their home — her aunty’s residence in Iliili — and was about to make her way to the house. At that time, her male cousin who was standing in front on the house told her, “Your boyfriend ‘Wins’ was looking for you yesterday, last night and also this morning.” She ignored his comment.

The victim told police that it was at that very moment after her male cousin told her about Toleafoa that she saw Toleafoa appear in front of the gate surrounding their house and called out to her to come over to him. She didn’t want to go, but out of respect and the fact that she didn’t want a disturbance, she complied and walked over to him.

Toleafoa approach her angrily and asked about her whereabouts the previous night.

Raising his voice, he took her cellphone, and allegedly dragged her inside a pick-up vehicle that was driven by his friend known as “Tala”.

According to the government, the victim said she tried very hard to fight back by pulling her hand back but Toleafoa was too strong and at one point, he allegedly forced her by carrying her and then allegedly threw her inside the vehicle.

When the victim was inside the vehicle, Toleafoa started allegedly assaulting her by choking her neck, shaking her and grabbing the front of her shirt and forcefully holding her down inside the car. She said Toleafoa rested for a moment before continuing to repeatedly punch her in the face, while she raised both hands to cover her face.

She said that while Toleafoa continued with the assault, she saw her male cousin run towards the car and open the left side door to pull her outside of the car. Out of fear that the victim’s cousin might hurt him, Toleafoa released the victim and yelled out to the driver to take off.

 The victim was escorted to the house by her cousin and immediately notified her aunty about what allegedly happened.

Police interviewed the victim’s cousin and his friend as witnesses to the alleged incident. The cousin confirmed the victim’s account of the incident, including the role he played rescuing the victim by stoning the vehicle with his friend, while it was slowly moving, and helping the victim get out of the vehicle.

The cousin told police this is not the first time Toleafoa had forced the victim to go with him. He said whenever the victim tried to break up with him (Toleafoa), he would beat her up and she would come home with bruises on her body.

There were injuries on the victim’s body from the current incident.

After interviewing the victim, several police officers headed to the defendant’s home in Tafeta in an effort to locate him, however, his sister-in-law informed police that Toleafoa just called her that he was spending the whole week with his girlfriend (victim) at his girlfriend’s house.

Toleafoa was nowhere to be found. However, last month, an off-duty police sergeant spotted the defendant alone at a bus stop in Pago Pago and immediately notified the Fagatogo Central Police Station about the defendant and his active arrest warrant from the alleged domestic violence incident — which by this time was two years old.

Toleafoa was apprehended and was transported to the TPS for further investigation. Before he was taken into the police unit, police conducted a body search on Toleafoa and during the body search, police discovered a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance, and a small stamp-sized baggie containing green leafy substance.

The white crystalline substance tested positive for methamphetamine, while the green leafy substance tested positive for marijuana.

After being advised of his constitutional rights, Toleafoa refused to make a statement.

Toleafoa made his initial appearance in court last month. He has been charged by the government in two separate cases.

In the first case, Toleafoa is charged with one count of felonious restraint involving domestic violence and one count of attempted kidnapping involving domestic violence, both class C felonies, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to seven years, a fine of $5,000 but not less than $150 pursuant to A.S.C.A 47.0402, or both; and two class A misdemeanor charges of 3rd degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

Bail in this case is set at $20,000.

In the second case, Toleafoa is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies which carry on imprisonment sentence between 5 to 10 years, a fine between $5,000 and $20,000, or both.

Bail in this case is set at $10,000.

If he posts bonds, the court orders Toleafoa to stay away from the victim and not attempt to contact her or her family in any way; and even if he encounters her in public, he is to walk away from her peacefully. The court also ordered Toleafoa not to set foot on the victim’s family compound at anytime.