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Man accused of assaulting his uncle with a machete held without bail

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The arrest was not made until two years after the incident

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 40-year-old man accused of assaulting his 55-year-old uncle with a machete over two years ago is now in custody after he was arrested last month.

Apeluolefeagaiga Faaleomiti was arrested during a traffic stop for driving a vehicle with an expired license plate tag.

It’s not known at this time why the government waited so long to file their case against Faalemiti


The government alleges that it was Dec. 07, 2018 around 5:24p.m when the Tafuna Police Station (TPS) received a call requesting police assistance after a man had allegedly been assaulted by a man with a machete at a family compound in the Tafuna area. The caller stated to police that the man who committed the alleged crime was walking on the road with a machete in his hand while the injured man was still in the house.

Furthermore, the caller also revealed to police that the man with the machete is the same man allegedly selling drugs in their neighborhood.

 Police officers responded to the call and met up with several witnesses who briefed them regarding the alleged incident. EMS personnel were also notified and the victim was transported to the LBJ Medical Hospital for treatment.

The victim was discharged after spending two days at the LBJ and was staying with a friend in Aua. The move was to separate the victim and the defendant.

Officers interviewed the victim at the home of a family member and observed injuries on the victim’s face, and left and right hands.

According to the victim’s statement to police, he was preparing food for his family dinner when his front door suddenly opened and his nephew, Apeluolefeagaiga Faaleomiti, the defendant in this case, stormed into the house with a machete in his hand and demanded to know why he (victim) scolded his daughter in church.

The victim tried to calm the defendant down and to explain the reason why he (victim) scolded the defendant’s daughter. The victim told the defendant that his daughter was the only female mentioned in a drinking session where young men from the church were involved two days ago. However, as the two exchanged words, the victim was shocked when his nephew (defendant) swung the machete towards his face, which he was able to avoid, missing his head.

The defendant swung the machete a second time, hitting the victim above his left eye causing a laceration there. A third swing of the machete caught the victim’s raised left hand, which was to block the blow.

The victim also stated to police that his right hand was injured when he used it to block the blows that caused injuries to his face and left hand.

The victim stated that the defendant left the scene after he assaulted him, while he (the victim) was still lying on the floor inside the house injured. The victim did not wish to file a criminal complaint against his nephew, saying that the defendant is his sister’s youngest son, and he doesn’t want him to suffer because he loves him as much as he loves his sister.

Officers went to the defendant’s residence to arrest him but did not find him at home. Police then talked to the defendant’s neighbor regarding the incident. According to the neighbor, it was after the defendant assaulted his uncle that he ran back to his house to look for his wife who witnessed the alleged assault.

The neighbor further stated to police that while the defendant was looking for his wife, the 30-year-old wife was hiding in the neighbor’s house. The wife further asked the neighbor to help her because the defendant was going to hurt her with the machete.

The neighbor was afraid for her safety and instructed the wife to run towards the main road. The neighbor saw the wife fleeing from her house carrying her one-year old daughter and running towards the trees leading toward the main road. A few moments later, the neighbor saw the defendant running in the same direction carrying a machete in his hand.

Several police officers were called for backup and they searched for the defendant. The defendant was nowhere to be found. Police then informed neighbors to notify DPS as soon as they observed the defendant in the area.

Police located the wife and brought her in for questioning. The wife told police that two days prior to the incident, she was informed by church members that her daughter was involved in a drinking session with men, so, she tried to hide the incident from her husband (defendant) because she knew that her daughter would be in trouble if her husband found out about the drinking session.

And while she was speaking to another church member on the phone, her husband (defendant) entered the room and found out the subject they were discussing on the telephone conversation. The wife smelled a strong odor of alcohol from her husband.

The telephone conversation between the defendant’s wife and the other church member was cut short when the defendant entered the room and that’s when the verbal argument between the couple started. At this time, her daughter had fallen asleep. The defendant asked his wife for the reason why she tried to hide the incident from him. The wife lied and pretended like she was trying to get advice from the Reverend’s wife on what she must do with their daughter.

The defendant then became angry with her and accused her of lying to him and to the church. The defendant allegedly was drunk and he started to act violently towards his wife.

The victim was very afraid and started crying at the same time telling her husband (defendant) she was not trying to hide the incident with their daughter, however, the defendant continued accusing her of being a bad mother and wife, who allegedly encouraged their daughter to go out with men for money.

According to the wife, her husband was very angry, and allegedly beat her, punching her on her back and using a bamboo stick to hit her on the side of her thigh. He also slapped and punched her in her face. She then saw the defendant grab a machete and threaten her, telling her to wait in the house and not go anywhere, and that he was going to beat his uncle with the machete because he (uncle) is the other person who also tried to hide the incident from him.

When the wife saw that the defendant had gone to the uncle’s house, she immediately took her daughter and ran to her neighbor’s house and asked for help.  She then left her neighbor’s house and ran towards the trees that led to a family-members’ residence and stayed there until her other friend came and picked her up.

The wife further told investigators that this is not the first time her husband accused her of hiding things their daughter did from him.

Faaleomiti made his initial appearance in court last month.

He is charged with one count of 1st degree assault, a class A felony punishable by imprisonment for a term not less than 10 years and not more than 30 years; along with one count of 3rd degree assault, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by term of imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

Faaleomiti is being held in custody without bail.