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Man allegedly assaults wife during quarrel over cooking gas tank

American Samoa District Court

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — On March 23, 2024, a woman contacted the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) alleging that her husband assaulted her. The woman had to walk from Nuuuli to Fagaima with her 3-year-old and 5-year-old children to use her mother’s phone to contact the police.

The defendant was apprehended and later charged with the following:

COUNT 1: Private Peace Disturbance (DV) — a class A misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to one (1) year, a fine of $1,000, or both; and,

COUNT 2: Assault in the Third Degree (DV) — a class A misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to one (1) year, a fine of $1,000, or both.

The defendant’s bail was set at $3,000.

(Samoa News has withheld names of those involved in the case to protect the identities of the minors.)

According to the affidavit, the investigation disclosed that on March 23, at about 10:40 p.m, a woman contacted the TPS and stated her husband had physically assaulted her in their home in Nu’uuli.

It was noted that the victim walked from Nuuuli to the village of Fagaima to utilize her mother’s phone to contact TPS for assistance while accompanied by her young children.

When officers arrived in Fagaima, police officers met up with the victim.

The affidavit states that visual observation of the victim’s facial area showed bruising and swelling to the left eye and a laceration of about 2 inches long above her left eyebrow. Officers then proceeded with a field interview.

According to the victim, she said that she and her husband (defendant) argued because he wanted to take the petroleum gas tank to his parents’ house next door to heat up their leftover meal from the church feast.

She stated they argued in the bedroom, during which the defendant pushed her onto the bed, and then hopped on top of her and punched her twice in her left eye.

She further stated that she tried to scream but the defendant used his hand to cover her mouth to conceal her screams for help.

The investigation also disclosed that both her sons — a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old — were present in the bedroom during the time the defendant allegedly assaulted the victim.

The victim was treated at her mother’s house in Fagaima by the EMS for the injuries she sustained, according to the affidavit.

Police officers proceeded to the defendant’s residence in Nu’uuli and announced their presence. The defendant, shirtless, opened the door and allowed the officers into his home.

The defendant was then informed that he was to be taken into the TPS for questioning. One of the officers accompanied the defendant in retrieving a shirt and before they left, the officer observed what appeared to be blood drops near the bed inside the bedroom. At this time, the defendant was apprehended and placed into the police unit and transported to the TPS for processing.

Upon arrival at the TPS, the defendant was Mirandized and agreed to provide a statement.

According to the defendant’s verbal and written statement, he felt as if the victim didn’t want to give the petroleum tank to his parents to use. He also explained that the victim started yelling at him and causing a scene. That was when he slapped the victim in the face.

The defendant was booked and confined to the Tafuna Correctional Facility to await the next sitting of the District Court.

The defendant is identified as a 37-year-old citizen of Samoa.