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Man charged with assaulting wife with machete — finally arrested

Police located defendant after two weeks of searching for him

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who is a repeat offender and has a long criminal history in the court system was arrested by police last week, for allegedly assaulting his wife using a machete. It’s been two weeks since police officers have been trying to locate the suspect pursuant to an arrest warrant from the court.

However, on Thursday last week, patrol police officers finally located the suspect and armed detectives from the Vice & Narcotics Units executed the warrant and arrested him.

(To protect the identity of victims in domestic violence cases, Samoa News is withholding the names of the parties involved.)

The defendant made his initial appearance in District Court last Friday morning where Judge Pro Temp, Gwen Tauiliili-Langkilde ordered that he remain in custody until he posts a cash bond of $10,000.

During court proceedings last Friday, Assistant Public Defender, Ryan Anderson asked the court to reduce his client’s bail to $5,000. He said his client has being charged with a single class D felony, and $5,000 is a reasonable amount for his client.

Despite the defendant being accused of using a machete to assault his wife in the presence of his young children, Anderson told the court that his client would not pose a high risk to the public and especially his family. Anderson assured the court that he will make sure his client lives separate from his family until otherwise ordered by the court.

Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn opposed the defense’s motion, saying the allegations against the defendant are serious and he must be kept in custody to ensure the victim's safety. She asked the court to keep bail at the amount of $10,000.

Tauiliili-Langkilde responded to the issue saying that based on the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident, the court feels the bail amount set is reasonable; and if the defendant is able to post the cash bond, he is to remain a law abiding citizen and be present during all of his scheduled court appearances. He is not to leave or attempt to leave the territory, and is to stay in close contact with his attorney.

Further, the defendant is not to have direct or indirect contact with the victim as well as with his three young children, and if he encounters them in public, he is to walk away from them.

According to the government’s case, it was reported to the Central Police Station by the wife’s parents, after witnessing the severe injuries to their daughter’s face and body a few hours after the alleged incident happen.

However, despite statements by some eyewitnesses, who told police that the victim sustained severe injuries to her body after she was allegedly beaten up by her husband using a machete; the victim on the other hand told police that the defendant never used a machete to beat her up. According to her, the severe wound on her back was caused when she fell on a sharp object.

According to the affidavit, the defendant was angry when his wife refused to obey his instructions on how to control their family expenses. The wife apparently ignored the defendant’s instructions and said that she would do what ever she feels is right for her children. The defendant then left the house around 3p.m, and returned home around 11p.m. very intoxicated and started a verbal argument with his wife in a loud voice, which alarmed nearby residents, resulting in people waking up and coming out to see what was going on.

The government claimed that it was at that time the defendant walked to their kitchen and grabbed the machete and used the flat side to strike his wife on the back multiple times. At one time while the defendant was allegedly assaulting his wife, the sharp side of the machete hit his wife’s back, which caused a severe wound that needed medical attention to close it.

The defendant fled the scene when he saw neighbors and his wife’s parents come to rescue his wife. The parents then called police for help. The defendant fled the scene before police officers arrived.

According to the government’s case, the defendant’s name was also included in the search and arrest warrant which was issued by the High Court to search two homes in Pago Pago last month for drugs and paraphernalia.

When armed detectives from the DPS Vice & Narcotics Units executed the warrant last month, only three individual were arrested while the defendant and another individual fled the scene.

According to the government, the defendant also has a previous conviction in the High Court.

In 2013, he was convicted in High Court for 2nd degree assault. This case stems from an incident that occurred in Nov. 2012, where he struck another man eight times with a folding chair on the head and body. The assault resulted in the victim suffering swellings and bruises to the head and left arm and causing substantial pain.

As part of his 5 -year probation from this case, the defendant was ordered to serve 20 months at TCF.