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Attempted murder and assault charges filed after stabbing in Ili’ili

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of stabbing another man with a knife last week is now in custody after he was arrested by police.

Auau Papalii made his initial appearance before Judge Elvis P. Patea. Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell, while Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart is representing the defendant, who is now remanded back to custody without bail.

Papalii is charged with one count of attempted murder and assault in the first degree, both class A felonies.

Preliminary examination (PX) is set for Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.


The government claims that on Nov. 11, 2019 around 10:10 p.m; a man called the Tafuna Substation requesting police assistance regarding a stabbing in front of his residence in Iliili. At the same time, the caller requested medical assistance at the scene.

When officers arrived at the scene, they observed an injured male lying on the ground motionless, bleeding, while the person who called police for help was applying pressure on his wounds. The suspect had apparently left the scene before police arrived.

According to the lead investigator’s report, the injuries comprised multiple defensive wounds on the victim’s left arm and a puncture wound to the chest covered with blood. The victim was immediately transported to the hospital for treatment.

Officers returned to the scene to try to locate the suspect but were unsuccessful.

Around 6:00 a.m the next morning, officers went to the suspect’s residence in an effort to locate him, and met up with the suspect’s girlfriend, who told police that her boyfriend (defendant) never returned home. She was then asked to accompany officers to the Tafuna Substation for an interview — she agreed.

During the interview, the suspect’s girlfriend stated that she did not know what had occurred and that her boyfriend had not come home. Officers then proceeded to drop the suspect’s girlfriend at her home, while also following up with locating the suspect.

When officers arrived at the suspect’s girlfriend’s home, they were greeted by a male individual, who was later identified as the person who owned the house, and he gave officers consent to go inside his home to look for the suspect. The suspect’s girlfriend also gave consent to officers to check her room.

As officers continued their search for the suspect inside the house, the suspect’s girlfriend who was present inside the house shouted and said, “Wait! I want to tell the truth,” while she tried to stop a female officer from entering her room.

However, the female officer was still able to enter the girlfriend’s room, and pulled a temporary curtain that covered part of the bed, and found the boyfriend on the floor. The officer called out to the officers in the other room, and they worked together to handcuff the suspect.

The suspect was then the transported, along with his girlfriend, to Tafuna Substation for processing.

Investigators were able to interview two eyewitnesses regarding the incident.

Witness #1 stated to police that he was getting ready for bed when his older brother came to him and told him that two guys are standing in front of the house asking for him. When he got in front of the front door, he saw the victim and the suspect standing on the grass adjacent to the front door of the house.

He then asked the victim why they had come to his house and why had he brought Auau Papali’i (suspect). He said he heard the victim say something, and he told them to leave his property. At this time, the suspect turned around and allegedly punched the victim. The victim ran and the suspect was running after him throwing multiple punches at the victim.

As the victim ran toward Witness #1, the victim hit the door and fell; at which point the suspect stood over him continuously throwing nonstop punches to the victim’s chest and  facial area. Witness #1 saw the victim bleeding and realized that an instrument was being used — he saw the suspect holding a gray box cutter in his hand.

It was then that Witness #1 got into the middle of the altercation to stop it and the suspect got up and took off. That’s when Witness #1 rendered assistance and also contacted 911 immediately for assistance.

Witness #2, (witness #1’s older brother) echoed Witness #1’s statement to police. He stated that two male individuals came over to their house and asked for his brother (Witness #1). He left to go get his brother while the two individuals were standing in front of their house.

Witness #2 told police that he was not aware of what was going on, but the two guys (victim and suspect) seemed to be angry. As the two men and his brother talked, Witness #2 told police that it was at that time he heard his brother tell the two male individuals to leave their property.

He then saw the suspect physically assault the victim by punching and beating him up numerous of times. The victim yelled out to Witness #1 and #2 that the suspect was stabbing him with something sharp; and it was at that time Witness #1 jumped in and stopped the physical altercation.

When questioned by police, the suspect stated that he was too drunk and was mad at the victim, which why he stabbed him numerous times, and then took off to inside the Golf Course and threw away the black knife about 9 inches long there.

Investigators were able to retrieve a black steak knife about 9 inches long that fit the description the suspect had given, from inside the Golf Course bush area. Investigators observed blood stains on the knife.

Based on the medical assessment at the LBJ Medical Center, the victim sustained extensive wounds on the chest, both arms, and his back. Four days after the alleged incident, victim was still in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and was on a ventilation machine.