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Government drops felony assault charges against mother & son over alleged wife beating

American Samoa DIistrict Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The case of a mother and her son from Nu’uuli arrested and charged last month on the allegation that the mother assisted her son in assaulting his wife will stay in District Court after the government decided to drop the felony charges against the two.

Both defendants, who were unable to post $5,000 bonds each appeared before District Court Gwen Tauiliili-Langkilde last Thursday for their preliminary examination (PX).

The mother and her son were each charged with one count of felonious restraint, a class C felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to seven years, a find of $5,000, or both, and one count of 3rd degree assault, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of $1,000, or both.

Before the court reconvened for the PX, both defendants were served with copies of the government’s amended complaint.

When cases for both defendants were called, the court was informed that the government has filed an amended complaint and it appeared that the felony charges against each defendant had been dropped by the government.

Each defendant is now facing one count of felonious restraint and 3rd degree assault, both class A misdemeanors, each punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of $1,000, or both.

The defense attorney asked the court to release her clients on their own recognizance (OR), saying that the felony charges against them are now amended to misdemeanors and the alleged victim is no longer living with the family in Nu’uuli. She moved out on the day the alleged incident.

The prosecutor did not opposed an OR release.

The court noted the defendant’s submission, however due to the uncertain situation at the family home and the fact that it’s unclear at this point the whereabouts of the alleged victim, Judge Tauiliili-Langkilde said that the court will want some bail in this matter.

She then set bail at the amount of $500 for each defendant with the same conditions that were given during their initial appearances.

The case has now been transferred to the FDA Court (Family, Drug and Alcohol Court) and the next hearing is next month.


On Sept. 6, 2021 about 7:09 p.m, the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a call from a woman asking for assistance regarding her husband, who allegedly assaulted her. The caller was later identified as the victim in this case and her husband, one of the co-defendants. Several police officers responded to the scene and met up with the victim and immediately interviewed her on the road. She described the incident to police officers, which included her husband allegedly slapping her two times in her face during a verbal disagreement, and her mother-in-law assisting her son in trying to keep her quiet.

According to the victim, both her husband and her mother tried to carry her back in the house but she resisted and tried to fight back to set herself free.

According to the husband’s statement to police, he was mad at his wife (victim) because she was talking about his sister’s children, and that’s why everything escalated between them.