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Dispute in Ottoville results in man being charged

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man from Ottoville accused of attempting to assault his neighbor’s wife while she was holding her 2-year-old son was arrested last month.

Mapu Tuni made his initial appearance in District Court where the court granted a motion from the defense attorney to release Tuni on his own recognizance to await his next court appearance. Tuni is not to make any direct or indirect contact with the victim and her family.

He is charged with third degree assault, public peace disturbance, and endangering the welfare of a child, all class A misdemeanors, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

According to the government’s case, on Oct. 9th, police received a call regarding a peace disturbance in Ottoville.

Upon arrival at the scene, two responding officers found a male — later identified as the defendant — sitting inside his vehicle in front of his house. As investigators were speaking to Tuni, a woman walked out and told police she was the one who reported the incident.

According to the woman, the wife of Tuni’s neighbor, the confrontation started when she approached Tuni about stealing items from her home, including money, shoes, clothes and a laptop belonging to her husband. She said she spoke to Tuni about how disrespectful his actions were, and that's when Tuni allegedly threw a metal object at her, while she was holding her 2-year-old son.

The metal object missed the victim’s head and hit the front door to her house. That’s when Tuni walked over to where the victim was standing and pushed her towards the house door, causing the victim to hit the back of her head on the side of the door — all while holding her son.

According to the victim, Tuni was cussing at her and claims that Tuni walked over and tried to punch her, but she ran into her house and locked the door.

She told police she was afraid and concerned for her safety and that of her young children because she knows the defendant is on drugs and if they don’t take him, he will come back later and beat her — or someone at their home — because he knows she called the police on him.

The victim’s husband was at work when the alleged incident took place.

According to the government, Tuni was sober when police approached him; but for the safety of the woman and the baby, he was arrested and detained to await his appearance in District Court.

When interviewed by police, Tuni explained that he assaulted the victim because she was spreading lies in the village and in the church, telling people that he broke into her home and took off with personal items.

Tuni told police that he loves his neighbor and his family; however, he was upset because people were mocking him and accusing him of going to his neighbor’s house late at night while his neighbor was away.

Tuni admitted that he assaulted the victim by pushing her towards the door while she was holding her son, and cussing at her, out of anger.