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Man charged for assaulting his brother-in-law and nephew

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 42-year-old man accused of assaulting his brother-in-law was arrested last week and charged with second degree assault and first degree property damage, both class D felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both; and two misdemeanors: third degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child, punishable by up to one year imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

Samuel Vaega made his initial appearance in District Court earlier this week and bond is set at $10,000.

If he is able to post bond, Vaega is ordered to remain law abiding, not leave or attempt to leave the territory, and not make any direct or indirect contact with the government’s witnesses, including the victim and his family.

A defense request to reduce bond to $3,000 was denied by District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea.

This came after defense attorney Ryan Anderson argued that his client is not a flight risk, and he works to care for his wife and their 5 children. He told the court that the alleged incident was something that arose within his client’s family.


The government claims that last Friday, Aug. 23rd the Tafuna Substation received a call from a woman reporting that her brother was being assaulted by another man.

The woman told police that she was at work when she received a call from her brother’s son, saying his uncle (defendant) struck his dad’s head with a metal pipe, which was also allegedly used by Vaega to damage the victim’s vehicle.

The victim was transported to LBJ for treatment and 7 stitches were needed to close a cut on the left side of his head.

When police spoke to the victim at the hospital on Saturday morning, the victim said Vaega — his wife’s brother — confronted him, asking about a family fa’alavelave in Savaii that his wife is currently attending.

According to the victim, Vaega was disappointed because he was never informed about the faalavelave. But the victim claims that his wife told Vaega about a family meeting in Savaii three weeks prior, and Vaega had said he didn’t have time to attend.

The victim told police that in the middle of their conservation, Vaega punched him in the face, causing him to fall down while his young children were watching. While he was on the ground, according to the victim, Vaega grabbed a metal pipe and struck his head with it.

Vaega didn’t stop there. He allegedly walked over to where the victim’s vehicle was parked and started damaging the windows and windshield.

The victim told police that after Vaega’s rampage, his 16-year-old son approached Vaega and asked him why he did what he did to his dad. That’s when Veaga allegedly slapped the boy and told him not to interfere with things of which he had no understanding.

Police were unable to locate Vaega at the scene that day; however, on Sunday afternoon, authorities were able to apprehend him at his friend’s home in Malaeimi.When questioned by police, Vaega admitted striking his sister’s husband with a metal pipe, injuring his head. He also admits that he damaged the victim’s vehicle and assaulted his 16-year-old nephew.

A preliminary hearing is set for tomorrow morning.