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Man arrested for stabbing his sister’s boyfriend with kitchen knife

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 33-year-old man from Ottoville was arrested by police last week on the allegation that he stabbed another man with a kitchen knife. The defendant was later identified as Tevita Mafi.

According to the government’s case, it was around 6:17 p.m on May 15th, 2020 when police at the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a call from a woman, saying that her brother had been assaulted by another person and was being taken to the LBJ Hospital by an ambulance for further treatment.

Several police officers responded to the call and found out that a 30-year-old man suffered severe injuries to his lower back and his shoulder and needed immediate surgery.

Investigators interviewed the victim’s sister, who informed them that her brother (victim) was allegedly assaulted by a man from a Tongan family in Ottoville. The sister further stated to investigators that her brother was assaulted when the victim went to visit his girlfriend and his two young daughters.

Investigators learned that the victim’s girlfriend is the sister of the suspect in this matter, and the victim was allegedly assaulted while he was with her inside the house.

Investigators were unable to locate the suspect and a request was made to his family to bring the suspect to the TPS for an interview regarding the alleged incident.

As investigators were looking for an eyewitness, the victim’s sister told investigators that according to her brother (victim) he was in the room with his girlfriend when the alleged assault took place.

Investigators were able to bring the girlfriend in for an interview.

The girlfriend told investigators that she was not around when her brother (suspect) allegedly stabbed the victim. All she knew was that she and her boyfriend (victim), who is the father of her two daughters, were shocked when her brother (suspect) entered the room uninvited by kicking the door open and immediately got into a fight with her boyfriend (victim).

According to the witness, she tried hard to stop the fight but it was getting out of hand and that’s when she ran outside calling for help and a few moments later, she noticed her boyfriend running outside from the house covered in blood. The victim asked her to call a taxi so that he could get away from the house and she immediately offered her help by calling 911 for assistance.

She told investigators that she did see the suspect stab the victim as she was outside seeking help.

Two days after the alleged incident, investigators spoke to the victim about the incident. According to the victim’s statement, he was inside the room with his girlfriend when the suspect barged in and they immediately got into a fight. During their fight the suspect allegedly stabbed his side with a kitchen knife. The victim told investigators that when he got the knife away, he then ran outside for help.

He further stated to investigators that Mafi is the main reason why he’s not staying with his girlfriend and his two young children, because he doesn’t want him (victim) to marry his sister. He said every time he tries to visit his girlfriend to discuss the future of their family, Mafi would always interfere and instruct him to get away from his sister and her children.

Investigators also interviewed a nurse regarding the victim’s injury and she verbally stated that the victim would be held in the Surgery Ward for a while due to his injury and that the doctor wanted to treat him (victim) with antibiotics, and the victim’s kidney was injured during the stabbing.

It was two days after the alleged incident that the suspect walked into the TPS accompanied by his aunty.

After reading him his constitutional rights, the suspect told investigators that he understood and agreed to make a statement regarding the incident.

The suspect told investigators that he was outside of the house when he heard his sister scream for help and when he went into the room, he saw the victim assaulting his sister by punching her facial area with his fists. He immediately grabbed the victim by the neck in an effort to pull him away from his sister but the victim turned around and pushed him away causing him to fall on his side.

According to the suspect’s statement, he punched the victim causing him to fall on a glass cup, which was on the floor inside the room. The victim then stood up, kicked him in the facial area before he ran outside for help.

When the lead investigator examined the crime scene, the area was already cleaned up and she did not find the assault weapon. She only observed blood splatter on the walls inside the room where the alleged incident took place.

Two days later the victim was released from the LBJ Hospital and investigators interviewed him again.

According to the victim’s second interview with investigators, he denied the allegation that he assaulted his girlfriend inside the house. He told them while he was inside the room with his girlfriend, the suspect kicked the door open and he rushed in holding a kitchen knife in his right hand.

The victim and his girlfriend tried to stop the suspect but he was too big and heavy. According to the victim, that’s when the suspect stabbed him in his back and his shoulder. He then took the knife that he got stabbed with and tossed it behind him and made his way out of the room. The victim told investigators that the knife he got stabbed with was a black kitchen knife with a long sharp blade.

Investigators also interviewed the victim’s girlfriend again and cautioned her to tell the truth. She said she was inside the room trying to hold her brother back but he was too strong and he kept wanting to stab her boyfriend. She said she tried to push her brother away from her boyfriend but she couldn’t and that’s when she ran outside and called for help. When she came back in the room, her brother (the suspect) instructed her not to call police over what happened

He also told her that he wanted to kill the victim because he doesn’t want him to come close to her and her children anymore.

Mafi made his initial appearance in court last week where his bail was set at the amount of $10,000. Mafi’s preliminary examination is now set for Wednesday next week, June 3rd at 10:30 a.m.

He is charged with one count of second-degree assault, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both, and 3rd degree  property damage, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.