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Domestic dispute results in a man charged with stabbing his wife

[SN file photo]

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 29-year-old husband was charged Monday in District Court after he allegedly stabbed his wife, 38, at a friend’s house. The victim sustained wounds on her left arm and was admitted to the surgical ward to await surgery because the knife blade penetrated the joint area of her arm.

During his initial appearance before District Court Judge Fiti Sunia, Matthew Mikaele entered a not guilty plea to the single charge of private peace disturbance, a class A misdemeanor.

Prosecutor Gillian Sadler, however, has informed the court that additional charges will be filed against Mikaele later this week, after police conclude their investigation, which includes interviews with eyewitnesses who were at the alleged crime scene when the incident occurred over the weekend.

The additional charges, according to the prosecutor, will include a felony and other misdemeanor charges related to the unlawful use of a dangerous weapon.

Judge Sunia set a bond of $2,000 for Mikaele; however, if the additional charges net a felony count, the bond amount will be increased.

If the defendant is able to post bond, the courts says he is not to attempt to contact directly or indirectly, his wife and the other government witnesses mentioned in the court affidavit. Furthermore, he is not to be armed with a dangerous weapon and must remain a law abiding citizen.

According to the court affidavit, it was 5:28 p.m. on Apr. 07, 2018 when the Tafuna substation received a call from a nurse at the Emergency Room (ER) of the LBJ Hospital, reporting a woman being treated and admitted after being stabbed by her husband.

When police approached the victim at the surgical ward, she was moaning in pain and could not move her left arm, which was bandaged in preparation for a procedure.

The court affidavit notes that at first, the victim declined to file a complaint against her husband because according to her, this isn't the first time he has assaulted her and she fears that he will hurt her again if she files a complaint against him.

The victim told police that she is tired of her husband being locked up and then released again only to repeat the same cycle of abusing her.

After the victim shared her history of domestic violence with police, she changed her mind and filed a complaint.

According to her, she moved to her friend’s house in Mesepa about three days prior to the incident because she was having marital issues. On the day of the alleged stabbing, Mikaele showed up at her friend’s house very drunk.

She told police her husband wanted her to come outside so they could discuss issues regarding their relationship. During the conversation, the defendant allegedly accused his wife of sleeping with another man. This led to a verbal argument between the couple.

The woman told police that she suddenly felt something plunge into her arm and that's when she saw her husband holding a knife.

The court affidavit states that the victim told police when she realized her husband had stabbed her, she tried to ask him why, but he took off and left her in shock.

That's when she said the pain started to kick in and she wasn't able to move her arm, which was bleeding.

When questioned by police at the Tafuna Substation, Mikaele denied stabbing his wife, saying he cut himself while arguing with his wife and when his wife tried to confiscate the knife from him, she accidentally stabbed herself.

The court affidavit notes that investigators could smell a strong odor of alcohol on the defendant’s breath and his eyes were bloodshot red.

During a police follow-up investigation, it was revealed that the victim sustained two puncture wounds on her left elbow. One of the puncture wounds was 5cm and she sustained a fractured bone. The victim underwent surgery to remove a piece of broken bone lodged in her arm.

The victim is still hospitalized.

According to court filings, Mikaele was arrested before, for assaulting his wife.

The defendant is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow to face additional charges the government anticipates filing against him.