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Man assaults elderly woman in Aua, no bail set by Dist. Court

Judge Fiti Sunia

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who is accused of assaulting an elderly woman in front of a store in Aua last week while holding a machete in his hand was arrested by police last week.

Otineru Tuuaga Samoa made his initial appearance in District Court last Friday. He is represented by Assistant Public Defender Anna Wells, while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.

The government is charging Samoa with third degree assault, public peace disturbance (PPD), and armed with a deadly weapon, all class A misdemeanors.

Judge Fiti Sunia established a no bail status for Samoa and he was remanded into custody until his next court hearing, which is Nov. 23, 2018.

During his initial appearance’s hearing, Samoa’s defense attorney Wells, asked the court to set some bail amount for her client, saying that this is his first court appearance, and there was no serious injury sustained by the victim in this case. She pointed that her client is a hard working man for his family, and his mother really needs him to come home.

The government’s attorney opposed the defense’s motion. Garvey told the court that the defendant’s action could have caused serious injuries not only to the victim but also to the other person who tried to help the victim in this case.

Sunia denied the defense’s motion and stated that the no bail status for Samoa will remain until further order from the court. Sunia stated that according to the court affidavit, this defendant is a danger to the community and also to his own family.

The government claimed that it was 8:10 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2018 when a female individual contacted the Central Police Station and requested police assistance regarding an incident that occurred in front of the Rainmaker Store in Aua, where a male individual allegedly assaulted an elderly woman.

Furthermore, the reporter also informed police that the male individual who allegedly assaulted the elderly woman is walking along the road and in front of the store with a machete in his hand, while a crowd of people are watching with fear.

Several police officers responded to the call and when they arrived at the scene they observed a crowd of people gathered in front of the store, however, it seemed everything had calmed down.

A female individual then approached the officers and pointed them to the elderly woman who was the victim in the case. Officers were able to interview the victim.

According to the victim, after she paid for her shopping and was about to leave the store, she heard people screaming from outside of the store. She did not know what was going on but she then exited the store, making her way home.

As she was making her way home, she suddenly saw a man approaching the store with a machete in his hand. The man was later identified as the defendant in this case.

The victim immediately yelled out to other people who were outside the store to run before they got hurt by the defendant.

According to the court affidavit, everyone who was present in front of the store when the defendant approached the store with a machete in his hand ran for their lives, except for this elderly woman, who was unable to run fast like other people due to a knee injury.

The defendant caught up the elderly woman in front of the store, and allegedly lifted the machete, that was in his right hand, but for some reason, the defendant did not swing the machete at the elderly woman, but instead swung his left hand instead and punched the victim in the face, causing her (the victim) to fall to the ground.

While the elderly woman was on the ground, the defendant continued to punch her multiple times in the face.

A male individual who was sitting in his car parked in front of the store saw the defendant assaulting the elderly woman while holding a machete in his right hand. The man then exited his vehicle and attempted to assist the victim. However, when the defendant observed the man trying to walk over to him, he (defendant) then walked towards him (the man).

Out of fear for his life, the man who was trying to assist the victim immediately walked back to his car, jumped inside and locked his vehicle down, fearing that the defendant might hurt him. It was at that time the defendant immediately left the store and went back to his home, which was not far away from the store.

After speaking to the victim, officers then proceeded to the defendant’s home. The defendant was inside his home along with his elderly mother. Officers observed and saw the defendant’s mother crying while the defendant held her next to him. Officers observed the defendant tightly holding and squeezing his mother’s arms.

When instructed by police to release his mother and come out of the house, the defendant started to acted disorderly and hostile.

It was that time when officers used necessary force to subdue and apprehend the defendant, and was later transported to the Fagatogo Central Station whereas he was booked and transported to the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) until the next available sitting of the District Court.