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Man pleads to assault after punching and striking boy on the head with a hammer

TCF Territorial Correctional Facility wall

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 36-year-old man accused of punching a 15-year-old boy and then striking the boy with a hammer has entered into a plea agreement with the government.

Ueli Afa who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $10,000 surety bond appeared in court last week for a Change of Plea hearing.

Afa was initially charged with one count of abuse of a child and one count of assault in the second degree, both class D felonies that carry a jail term of up to 5 years, a fine of $5,000 or both; and third degree assault, a class A misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

But under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, Afa pled guilty to the felony charge of 2nd degree assault.

With his guilty plea, Afa admits that on Aug. 22, 2019 he punched a 15-year-old boy, causing injuries to his face, before he grabbed a hammer and struck the boy’s head causing severe injuries.

The case was reported to the Tafuna Police substation (TPS) when the victim’s stepfather called police for assistance, after his stepson ran to their house covered in blood and seeking help.

Afa was apprehended and taken to the TPS. Investigators say he reeked of alcohol.

During questioning, the victim said he was talking to his female friend (defendant’s 16-year-old niece) in front of the defendant’s home and "he was surprised to see the defendant walking towards him with a hammer” in his hand. The boy claims the defendant "punched and hit" him, and he "became scared" and that's when he ran home for help.

According to the victim's stepfather, who is also defendant’s neighbor, he saw Afa approaching his stepson, while holding a hammer in his hand. He said Afa punched his stepson "several times" and then "hit his son with the hammer that he was holding…”

Sentencing is set for Jan. 20th and Afa is remanded back to custody.