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Man accused of assaulting his wife with a metal pipe

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man charged with assaulting his wife with a metal pipe inside their home in the presence of their children has entered a ‘not guilty’ plea to the four charges against him —  public peace disturbance, 2 counts of third degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

(To protect the identity of the victim and the children, Samoa News is withholding the names of all parties involved).

The man in his late 40s make his initial appearance before District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea last week. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Anna Whiles while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell.

The defendant was released on his own recognizance subject to several conditions, including not having any direct or indirect with his wife and children; find another place to stay; not leave or attempt to leave the territory, and surrender his travel documents to the government’s attorney.

According to the government’s case, police were notified of the incident by the victim’s aunt, who was the first to arrive at the house while the defendant was allegedly assaulting his wife.

According to the aunt, she went to her niece’s house to give them food because her niece and her children were left alone in their home. The defendant had moved out of the house over 3 months ago and he was staying with another woman on the west side of the island.

The aunt, who is a government witness, told police when she entered her niece’s house, she saw the defendant sitting on a chair with a metal pipe in his hand. He was having a verbal argument with her niece (the defendant’s wife) while their children were also present in the house.

During the verbal argument between the defendant and his wife, the defendant stood up and struck his wife’s back with the metal pipe he was holding. The wife ran outside of the house for help but the defendant followed him and struck her back again, twice.

The aunt tried to intervene in an effort to stop the defendant from assaulting his wife, (her niece), but the defendant turned around and punched the aunt in the face. The defendant also pushed his 2-year-old son away from his wife causing the infant to fall on the ground.

Several people who saw the incident came up to help but the defendant fled the scene when he heard that police had been notified by the neighbors and also the victim’s aunt. When police arrived on the scene, the defendant was nowhere to be found.

Bystanders told police that they saw the defendant run to the back of the house and towards the bush area in Tafuna.

A few hours later on the same night, the Tafuna Substation received a phone call from a young man saying that the man who beat his wife with a metal pipe is drinking beer with his older brother at the back of their home in Tafuna.

Several police officers responded to the call and the defendant was apprehended where he was hanging out with his friend.

When questioned by police, the defendant stated that he was mad when his wife informed him that their marriage was over and she was dating another man, since the time he moved out of their home.

He admitted that he assaulted his wife with as metal pipe, striking her on her back three times, causing her to fall on the ground. He further admitted that he assaulted his infant son, and his wife’s aunt.

Pretrial conference for this case is now scheduled for July 31st.