Man attacked for not paying worker — said he thought guy was working for free
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who is on probation for a drug conviction from four years ago was arrested last month on the allegation that he assaulted a man by hitting him on the head with a metal pipe during a verbal argument between the victim and the defendant, and when he was brought in for questioning, police discovered drugs on his person and in his vehicle.
Onosa’i Meki appeared in court last month for his initial appearance where he informed the court that he opted for a preliminary examination (PX).
Meki is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth); one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, punishably by imprisonment from 5 to 10 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both; along with trespass and property damage in the 3rd degree; both class A misdemeanors, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both; and 2nd degree assault, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Bail is set at $10,000.
On June 30th, 2021, the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a call from a woman in Nu’uuli asking for help after her husband was assaulted by another man. The man was later identified as Onosa’i Meki, the defendant in this case.
The woman also requested immediate medical assistance for her husband who received severe head injuries as a result of the allege assault.
Several police officers responded to the call and met up with the victim’s wife who immediately informed police that the defendant had just fled the scene in his vehicle after he saw police units approaching their home.
Police interviewed the victim and his wife regarding the alleged incident. According to the wife’s statement, she was in the house that afternoon with her elderly father-in-law and three young children when she heard someone calling out her husband’s name from outside of their house. She later noticed that it was Onosa’i, who lives at the other end of the village.
The woman went to the front to inform Meki to wait for few minutes because her husband (victim) was on the phone, and she invited Meki inside to the living room to wait for her husband.
Meki replied that he did not want to come inside, and instead instructed the victim’s wife to tell her husband to hang up with phone and come out to discuss something very special with him.
According to the victim’s wife, she didn’t think that anything was unusual. However, she was shocked when she heard her husband arguing with Meki and when she walked out to check on the verbal argument, she saw Meki punch her husband in the face twice causing him to fall down.
She also saw Meki with a metal pipe in his hand, with which he used to strike her husband’s head and back, while her husband was lying on the ground. Furthermore, Meki threw the metal pipe at the door of their house leaving a hole in the middle of the door before he walked away. Photos of the damaged door were taken for evidence.
The wife said she then called the police and EMS for assistance before she went over and assisted her husband with his injuries. Her three little children were just standing beside their father (the victim) crying at the time.
The victim was transported by EMS to the hospital for treatment and was later discharged, and went straight to TPS for an interview.
The victim confirmed to police that it was Meki, a man who always worked with him on construction work that assaulted him.
Two weeks later, police spotted Meki’s vehicle parked in front of a store in Iliili and approached him regarding the alleged incident. Meki at first refused to comply with police instructions and informed officers that they can’t arrested him because he didn’t do anything wrong. However, officers informed Meki that he’s not under arrest and he can leave if he wants to leave.
After a brief conversation with the officers, Meki finally agreed to go with police to the TPS for an interview.
Before Meki was transported to the TPS, he was patted down, where upon police discovered a medium sized baggie inside Meki’s rear pocket containing two hand rolled marijuana joints.
An inventory search was also conducted of the vehicle in the presence of Meki. During the search, police found a black pouch under the driver’s seat containing two small stamp-sized baggies containing white crystalline substance.
First, Meki refused to speak to investigators regarding the drugs found in his possession and inside his vehicle, but after being Mirandized, he informed investigators that he fully understood his rights and would like to make a statement.
In his verbal statement to investigators, Meki apologized for what happened to the victim and immediately admitted to his action. He told investigators that the drugs did belong to him. He said he went to Le Filifili two days prior to the incident and bought drugs for $50.
When asked about the alleged assault, Meki admitted that he struck the victim’s head with a metal pipe, saying he was really mad at the victim, because the victim never paid him when ever he helped the victim with his construction work.
According to Meki, its’ been 4 weeks now since he did the construction work with the victim and he was never paid. However, when he called the victim on the phone two days prior to the day of the alleged incident and asked to borrow $50 from the victim to buy food for his children, the victim hung up the phone, saying he (the victim) doesn’t have any money.
Meki further stated to investigators that before he assaulted the victim, he politely asked him to give him money for his children. The victim’s response was, “I thought you’re offering your service for free”. Meki said he became really mad, so he turned around and punched the victim before he grabbed a metal pipe and struck his head and shoulders while lying on the ground.