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Man charged with allegedly assaulting his wife in a moving vehicle

American Samoa District Court building
Woman tells cops “he would beat her, leaving her for dead"

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man charged with assaulting his wife has entered a 'not guilty' plea to the three charges against him: public peace disturbance, 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 appeared in District Court yesterday morning.

According to the government's case, police were notified of the incident on Monday, Mar. 11th.

According to the court affidavit, the incident occurred in Faleniu. When police arrived, a man who reeked of alcohol approached the police unit. He was later identified as the defendant.

The man had requested to have him and his wife settle their dispute at the Tafuna Substation because he was "concerned for his children, and he was disappointed that his wife is having an affair," according to the court affidavit.

An officer who responded to the call observed injuries to the wife's neck.

The man, his wife, their children, and a witness were transported to the Tafuna Substation for questioning. The parties were separated into different rooms.

According to the witness, they were heading home to gather the couple's children's laundry and when they arrived, she witnessed the defendant grab his wife's hand, "trying to take the car keys away from her, but was unsuccessful."

The wife went to gather the laundry and upon her return, she found her husband searching the inside of the car and he took her purse.

The woman demanded that her purse be returned but the defendant refused. The woman then proceeded to the laundromat but she had no money so she went back to the house to try to get her purse back.

When they arrived, according to the witness, the man approached the vehicle and "strangled" his wife, resulting in scratches to her neck.

The woman tried to push her husband away "but he was too rough" and one of his fingers was in her mouth during the struggle.

The witness said the woman bit her husband's finger so he could let go of her neck. She said the vehicle was in motion while all of this was going on, and the wife tried to back the car up to get away from her husband. The witness said she told the defendant to stop what he was doing, because the kids were in the vehicle. The witness said she was afraid for the children's lives and she wanted nothing to do with the altercation.

However, the man "continued to shout profanity" towards his wife as she drove off.

The wife then instructed the witness to call police for assistance because she was "afraid that her husband might hurt her again."

When questioned by police, the defendant's "emotional" wife said she is "very afraid" of her husband, "because he would beat her, leaving her for dead."

Police were told that this isn't the first time a dispute like this between the couple has occurred.

The woman showed police scars from a previous beating, saying their arguments are usually about the same thing — her alleged affairs with other men — and her husband would beat her "until she bled … but she would always forgive him because he is the father of her children."

She said her husband would make threatening remarks towards her and shout profanities at her in the presence of their children. The woman "is very afraid for her life as well as her children," according to the criminal complaint.

She requested that her husband not return home to her and her children — for their safety — until everything is settled between them.

According to police, both parties sustained injuries as a result of the altercation. The woman had a scratch on the left side of her neck while her husband suffered an injury to his right index finger.

The man refused medical assistance but the wife was treated and later released.

Judge Elvis P. Patea has scheduled a status hearing for this morning, to confirm the man's immigration status.