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Man arrested for allegedly assaulting his brother — but that’s only part of the story

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 54-year-old Tongan national accused of assaulting his own brother with a machete four years ago is now in custody after he was arrested last week.

Timote Afemui was arrested when he went to the District Court to pick up an immigration clearance, and the clerk discovered an active warrant for his arrest in the system.


The government alleges that it was Sept. 07, 2016 around 7:54p.m when the Tafuna Police Station (TPS) received a call requesting police assistance after a man had allegedly been assaulted by another man with a machete at the Tongan community in Pava’ia’i. Police officers responded to the call and were able to meet up with several witnesses who briefed them regarding the alleged incident.

Officers also interviewed the victim at the home of another family member and observed injuries on the victim’s facial area and left and right hands. But due to bandages, officers did not know exactly the extent or seriousness of the victim’s wounds.

According to the victim’s statement to police, he was preparing coffee when his front door suddenly opened and his brother, Timote Afemui, the defendant in this case, stormed into the house with a machete in his hand and demanded to know what the man did to his daughter.

The victim was not aware of the situation, so he tried to calm the defendant down, and at the same time asking him what he meant by his demand. However, as the two exchanged words, the victim was shocked when his brother (defendant) swung the machete towards his face. He (victim) quickly dodged backwards avoiding the machete.

The defendant swung the machete a second time, hitting the victim above his left eye causing a laceration there. The defendant hit the victim again with the machete on the third swing and that is when the victim raised his left hand to block the blow and the machete struck his left hand.

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 further stated to police that the defendant left the scene after he assaulted him, while he (the victim) ran to his neighbor’s home for help. The victim did not wish to file any criminal complaint against his brother because he loves him.

EMS personal at the scene transported the victim to the LBJ Hospital for further medical treatment.

Officers went to the defendant’s residence in an effort to arrest him but they were unsuccessful and 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 brother that he ran back to his house to look for his 18-year old stepdaughter.

The neighbor further stated to police that while the defendant was looking for his stepdaughter, the stepdaughter was hiding at the neighbor’s house. The stepdaughter further told 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 stepdaughter to run towards the main road. The neighbor saw the stepdaughter fleeing from her house carrying her two-year old female cousin and running towards the trees leading toward the main road. A few moment 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 and his stepdaughter. The defendant was nowhere to be found. Police then informed neighbors in the Tongan community to notify DPS as soon as they observed the defendant in the area.

Police located the stepdaughter and brought her in for questioning. The stepdaughter told police that on the early morning of Sept. 7, she was informed by her brother that her aunty was waiting for her to go to the WIC building to pick up her food stamps. And while she was readying herself and her little 2-year old cousin, her stepfather (defendant) told her to stay home because her aunty had already left to pick up her food stamps.

The stepdaughter stayed home and was about to start her morning chores when the defendant called her name from inside the bedroom. At this time, her littler cousin had fallen asleep. She approached the bedroom and went inside and her stepfather (defendant) asked her in a gentle quiet tone to have sex. She was so startled and she told him no.

The defendant asked the victim a second time and a third time to have sex, but she told him no and that she was afraid of him and that she had never had sexual intercourse with any man. But her stepfather became angry with her and accused her of having sexual intercourse with his brother (victim) and losing her virginity to his brother.

The victim was very afraid and started crying at the same time telling her stepfather (defendant) there was nothing going on with her and her uncle (defendant’s brother), however, the defendant continued accusing her of having a sexual relationship with other guys and old men in their village.

According to the stepdaughter, her stepfather 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 saw the defendant grab a machete and then he threatened her, telling her to wait in the house and not go anywhere, and that he was going to beat his brother with the machete.

When the stepdaughter saw that the defendant had left and gone to his brother’s house, she immediately took her young cousin 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 uncle and his wife came over to pick her and her cousin up.

Afemui made his initial appearance in court last week.

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.

Afemui is held in custody without bail.