Man arrested for assaulting his wife — three months after the alleged attack
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 45-year-old man who is on 7 years probation for burglary and stealing was arrested by police last month for allegedly assaulting his wife, after his youngest sister called 911 for help and told police that her sister-in-law (victim) was assaulted by the defendant and she’s hiding inside the room, crying and shaking. The defendant’s sister further stated to police that her brother (defendant) was heavily intoxicated and making unreasonable noise outside of their house, alarming their neighbors.
Several police officers responded to the call and found the victim, as her sister-in-law had reported, lying on the bed shaking and crying, while her sister-in-law (defendant’s sister) was assisting her with her injuries on her left eye and her nose.
Police were unable to locate the suspect at the house when they arrived, however, he was apprehended last month, Nov. 17th, 2020 at a cousin’s house pursuant to an arrest warrant. This was almost 3 months after the alleged incident.
(In the interest of protecting the minor children and the victim, Samoa News is withholding the name of all parties involved.)
During his arrest, police found two hand rolled marijuana joints and a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance in the left pocket of his pants. The defendant told police that the two marijuana joints and the glass pipe belonged to him and were for personal use.
The defendant made his initial appearance in District Court last month.
He’s charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, an unclassified felony, punishable by imprisonment from 5-10 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both; along with one count of 2nd degree assault; one count of felonious restraint; and one count of resisting arrest, all class D felonies; and two misdemeanors charges of private peace disturbance and endangering the welfare of a child.
Bail is set at $20,000.
If he posts bond, the defendant was ordered to find another place to live and not have any direct or indirect contact with his wife and children until further order of the court.
According to the government’s case, the alleged domestic violence incident was reported to police by the victim’s 22-year old sister, after she witnessed the defendant assaulting the victim on Aug. 29th, 2020.
The couple (defendant and his wife), their two young children and the defendant’s youngest sister lived in a house belonging to the victim’s aunty who is off-island. The two minor children are 10 and 13 years old.
Several police officers responded to the call and proceeded to the second floor of the building where the couple’s room was located. Officers met up with the female who reported the incident, and immediately briefed officers regarding the alleged incident. Before the reporter briefed officers about the incident, she first directed officers straight to the room where the police observed the victim sitting on the floor while her facial area was injured and bleeding.
Officers immediately surrounded the area in an effort to locate the suspect, however, he was nowhere to be found. A man living next door who also witnessed the alleged beating told officers that after the suspect assaulted his wife, he quickly exited the house through the back door and ran to the road.
Officers spoke with the victim while awaiting the EMS ambulance to arrive.
According to the victim’s written statement to police, she was at home cooking food for her daughter’s 13th birthday while at the same time waiting for her husband to return home from work. She was shocked when her daughter informed her about an object she found inside her father’s (defendant) luggage.
The victim escorted her daughter inside the room and found a glass pipe hidden under her husband’s clothes inside the luggage. The victim further searched the luggage and discovered one hand rolled cigarette containing green leafy substance inside the pocket of the defendant’s jeans.
The victim continued with her cooking while waiting for her husband to return home from work.
After the birthday meal, the defendant’s sister, along with the two minor children went to bed while the couple (victim and the defendant) were talking outside of the house. The defendant was drinking alcohol. Everything was normal during their discussion, where she asked her husband about his alcohol problem and the fact that he (husband) spent a lot of their money to buy alcohol for himself and his friends instead of buying food, clothes and other things for their family.
The wife also told her husband that if he stopped drinking and saved some money for their family, maybe their family’s standing would improve from the situation they’re facing now.
The wife further stated to police that her husband had worked as a mechanic for over 8 years, making $380 bi-weekly, which is more than enough to provide for their small family. However, half of her husband’s paycheck went to buy alcohol and she’s also suspicious that her husband is doing drugs.
The wife also asked her husband about the glass pipe and a hand rolled marijuana joint found by their daughter inside his luggage, while their daughter was tidying their room.
As they continued their conversation, the wife said her husband (defendant) became angry with her and started yelling at her and asked her why she touched his luggage. The victim tried to explain to her husband the reason why their daughter went inside the room. Furthermore, the wife also told her husband that she wanted to talk to him because she wanted him to change and stop spending their money on drugs and alcohol.
According to the victim’s statement to police, her husband immediately punched her in the face causing a small cut on her right eye. She tried to run for help but her husband quickly stood up and started slapping her face multiple times. He then pulled her hair and punched her in the face causing her to fall. Her husband continued to punch her face multiple times causing a swelling and bruises on the right side of her eye. She tried to get away from him, but her husband grabbed her hair and dragged her from the kitchen to the living room and continued with the assault, using a coffee mug to strike her head and then a board to hit her.
The victim further stated to police that her husband instructed her not to say anything to anyone and for her to shut up and not make any noise. If she made any noise or told what happen to anyone, he would instruct his men from Vaitogi to finish her off.
The victim stated that she feared for her life as well as for her two children and her youngest sister-in-law. During the alleged assault, she said it hurt even more because her two daughters and her sister-in-law were watching her suffer from the assault.
Investigators were able to interview the 25-year-old sister-in-law about what happened.
According to the sister-in-law, who is also the one who reported the matter to police, she was very scared seeing the victim being assaulted by her brother (suspect). It was when she saw the defendant grab a piece of hard wood and strike the victim several times that she ran and got the phone and called 911 for help. Afterwards, she contacted her church pastor to come immediately for help.
Investigators interviewed the man living next door who confirmed the reporter’s statement. He told investigators that when he heard the victim’s cry for help, he ran to the couple’s house and saw the suspect striking his wife (victim) with a piece of hard wood. He called out to the suspect to stop his cowardly act because he’s calling the police. The suspect dropped the wood and immediately walked inside the house while his wife (victim) followed him inside the house.
Almost three months after the alleged incident, police received a call from the victim saying that the suspect was staying with another couple at the couple’s house in Ottoville. The victim told police that her husband called her and threatened that he was planning to finish her off if she didn’t withdraw her criminal complaint against him.
Several police officers went to the couple’s house in Ottoville and found the suspect sleeping inside one of the rooms. The suspect was apprehended and transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for questioning.
During a body search, police discovered 3 hand rolled marijuana joints in the defendant’s pocket.
The defendant refused to make any statement to investigators.
Investigators received additional information regarding the suspect’s attitude towards his wife and children. According to church members, this is not the first time the suspect has done this type of thing to his wife.