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Violent attack allegedly committed by man found with meth

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man with a pending criminal case in District Court was arrested last month on the allegation that he burglarized a home in Vaitogi before he assaulted an intoxicated man who was walking on the road late at night.

When questioned by police, the defendant, Arona Edward said that he wanted to get into trouble and he was committing crimes because his life is messed up and his father-in-law does not want him home anymore.

The government stated in its case that around 11:21p.m on Saturday night, June 6th, 2020, the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a phone call from a man asking for police assistance regarding a drunken man who had a severe head injury and needed immediate medical assistance.

Several police officers responded to the call and met up with the reporter, while assisting the victim with his injuries. EMS also arrived at the scene and immediately transported the victim to the LBJ Hospital for further treatment.

While speaking to the reporter, police also received a call from a family in Vaitogi stating that a young male attempted to burglarize their home by breaking the back door before he was chased away by family members.

The description of the young male accused of attempting to burglarize the  Vaitogi home matched with the description of the person who assaulted the drunken man on the road in front of an Asian store in Iliili.

The reporter told police that the man had walked towards the Iliili golf-course area. Another police unit near the area made an effort to locate the suspect. A few minutes later, police observed a young male walking in front of the Lupelele Elementary School and immediately placed him inside the police unit before they transported him to the police station for further investigation.

Before police interviewed several witnesses regarding the alleged incident, a man who was sitting in front of his home in the area where the alleged victim was assaulted, walked over to the area where the police unit was parked and offered his statement about what he saw.

According to the man, he was sitting in front of his house when he saw a young male running from the Vaitogi road and continuing west to the Iliili road. The young male was later identified as Edward, who was arrested by police on the road.

According to the witness, the young male had stopped to catch his breath when a man around his early 40s, very intoxicated, was heading toward where the young male was standing.

The witness said he saw the young male strike the head of the intoxicated man with a long object, causing the intoxicated man to fall on the ground. The young male then kicked the man on the ground multiple times before he fled the scene.

The witness ran over to offer help to the victim and at the same time, a vehicle pulled over on the side of the road. The witness then saw a man exit his vehicle and approach the victim offering to him help. The man then used his phone to report the matter to police.

The man who reported the incident was also interviewed by police. He said that he was driving on the Iliili road when he saw a person lying on the side of the road. He immediately pulled his vehicle over, exited his vehicle and approached the person lying on the ground.

According to the reporter’s statement to police, he was shocked when he saw a severe injury on the victim’s head. That is when he called 911 for assistance. A 6-foot metal pipe was seen laying on the side of the road, not far from the victim.

Police also interviewed members of a family in Vaitogi regarding the attempted burglary.

According to the woman, she was at their neighbor’s house when she heard a loud noise coming from her house. She ignored the noise thinking that must be a noise from somewhere else. However, when she heard the noise again, that was when she stood up and made her way to her house.

As she was walking towards the back side of the house, she saw a young man wearing a red T-shirt with black shorts trying to enter their house through the back door. According to the witness’ statement, after she yelled out to him, the young male immediately left the scene and ran to the back of the house and continued his way to the main road.

The witness told police that the aluminum back door to their house was damaged during the attempted burglary.

Before the defendant in this matter was transported to the police station for questioning, he was patted down. During the pat down, police found a hard object inside his left pocket. When asked by police about the hard object, the defendant stated that it was a “gun” (glass pipe) to smoke meth.

Police found a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance that was later tested and found positive for methamphetamine.

After reading him his constitutional rights, the defendant stated that he understood his rights and he wished to make a statement.

According to Edward’s statement to police, he planned to burglarize a home in Vaitogi in an effort to look for money and other essential stuff to sell for drugs. He admitted that he broke the back door of a house with the intent to steal things, however, he left the house after a woman called out to him and stated that she’s calling 911.

He said he ran to the road and headed in the direction where the Lupelele Elementary School is located.

Before he reached the Asian store in the area, an intoxicated man approached him and swore at him. He then used the metal pipe that he was holding in his hand to strike the man on the head causing him to fall on the ground. He also kicked the man multiple times before he fled the scene.

While he was walking on the road, a police vehicle pulled over next to him and he was immediately arrested by several police officers.

The defendant further stated to police that the glass pipe containing methamphetamine found in his possession belonged to him.

Manase made his initial appearance in court last month.

He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine; one count of 2nd degree assault and one count of attempted burglary; all felonies.

Bail is set at $15,000.