Man charged after he allegedly assaulted his wife with a machete
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of assaulting his wife by allegedly holding a machete to her throat to stop her from screaming, and then assaulting her the next day after she refused to have sex with him, made his initial appearance in District Court yesterday morning where Judge Pro Temp, Gwen Tauiliili-Langkilde ordered that he remain in custody until he posts a cash bond of $300.
The defendant, who is represented by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson, is facing seven (7) misdemeanor charges.
(To protect the identity of victims in domestic violence cases, Samoa News is withholding the names of the parties involved).
During court proceedings yesterday, Anderson asked that his client be released on his own recognizance, arguing that his client is a first time offender who was employed when he was arrested. He said his client is a hard working family man and he has secured another place to stay while his case is pending.
Assistant Attorney General Bianca Lherisson opposed the defense’s motion, saying the allegations against the defendant are serious and he must be kept in custody to ensure the victim's safety.
Tauiliili-Langkilde however said that based on the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident, the court feels the bail amount already set is reasonable; and if the defendant is able to post the cash bond, he is to remain a law abiding citizen and be present during all of his scheduled court appearances. He is not to leave or attempt to leave the territory, and is to stay in close contact with his attorney.
Of note, the defendant is not to have direct or indirect with the victim, and if he encounters her in public, he is to walk away from her.
The victim was present in court during the defendant’s initial appearance. Despite sitting in the front row inside the courtroom, the defendant — with a remorseful look on his face — kept looking at his wife who was sitting in the back.
The government claims the alleged domestic dispute was reported by the victim when she sought police assistance.
According to the affidavit, the defendant was angry when his wife refused to give him money. He then yelled profanities at her and allegedly started to throw things around inside the house. While his wife was trying to stop and calm him down, the defendant allegedly grabbed her shoulder and pulled her hair, which caused his wife to scream out for help.
The defendant did not stop. He then allegedly walked to the kitchen, grabbed a machete and held it to his wife’s throat and told her to stop screaming. Out of fear for her safety, the wife finally stopped screaming.
The next day, the defendant allegedly undressed his wife and asked her to have sex with him. His wife did not want to and said no. The defendant became angry again and allegedly started punching her legs.
This case has been transferred to the Family, Drug and Alcohol Court, and a pretrial conference is set for July 30 at 1 p.m.