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No bail reduction for man charged in an assault with a knife

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 39-year-old man from Tafuna accused of using a kitchen knife to assault another man during a drinking session has been arrested and charged with second degree assault, a felony, punishable by not more than 5 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of not more than $5,000 or both; and two misdemeanor charges, unlawful use of a weapon and public peace disturbance.

The charges against Pele Maeli stem from an incident that occurred in June in Tafuna, where he allegedly used a kitchen knife to assault and severely injure another man for allegedly stealing tools and spare parts from his shop in January of this year.

According to the police report, Maeli and the victim got into a disagreement during a drinking session outside of Maeli’s mechanic shop regarding his tools that the victim allegedly stole from inside his shop. In the middle of the verbal disagreement, the victim allegedly assaulted Maeli by punching him in the face causing Maeli to fall and hit his head on the concrete floor.

The victim then walked back to his car that was parked a few feet away from the area where the alleged assault took place and attempted to leave the area.

However, when Maeli stood up, he grabbed a kitchen knife with a blade of 10 inches that was in the back of his pickup and followed the victim, allegedly striking the victim’s head from behind causing an open cut on the left side of the victim’s head. The victim ran for help while Maeli followed him in an attempt to strike him again, however, Maeli’s two friends who saw the incident jumped in and stopped Maeli.

The defendant’s two friends also assisted the victim and immediately called police for assistance.

Maeli made his initial appearance in the District Court, where he waived his right to a preliminary examination hearing. He is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 28th for his first pretrial conference in High Court.

Ili’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender, Bob Stuart, asked the court for a reduction in bail from $10,000 to $2,000. Stuart told the court that Maeli is a hard-working man, and he is the only member of his family who works to provide for his wife and four young children. Stuart said his client is not a flight risk; and he has no intention of leaving his family.

The prosecutor opposed the defense’s motion, saying the bail set by the court is the right amount for the offense the defendant is accused of committing.

The defense motion was denied and bail remains at $10,000; and because he is unable to post bond, Maeli remains in custody at the TCF.