Serial abuser claims wife accidentally stabbed herself
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 39-year-old man was charged Monday in District Court after he allegedly stabbed his wife, 32, at a friend’s house in Futiga on Friday evening. The victim sustained wounds on her left arm and was admitted to the LBJ Surgical Ward because the blade penetrated the joint in her arm.
During his initial appearance before District Court Judge Fiti Sunia, the defendant, who is a bus driver, entered a 'not guilty' plea to the charge of private peace disturbance and third degree assault — both class A misdemeanors.
Prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell, however, has informed the court that additional charges will be filed against the defendant later next week, after police conclude their investigation, which includes interviews with eyewitnesses who were at the alleged crime scene when the supposed 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 has set bond at $2,000 for the defendant; however, if the additional charges net a felony count, the bond amount will be increased.
If the defendant is able to post bond, the court has ordered that he not attempt to contact — directly or indirectly — his wife and 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 6:28 p.m. on Dec. 07, 2018 when the Tafuna substation received a call from a nurse at the LBJ Emergency Room (ER), reporting that a woman was being treated and admitted for a stab wound.
When police approached the victim at the hospital, she was moaning in pain and could not move her left arm, which was bandaged in preparation for a medical 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 Futiga about five days prior to the incident because she was having marital issues. On the day of the alleged stabbing, her husband 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; and 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.
Police questioned two females who were living with the victim at a home in Futiga where the alleged incident took place. One of the female witnesses told police that the day before the alleged incident, the victim told her that she was scared of her husband because he threatened to kill her if she left him. She also told police that the defendant called her cell phone a few hours before the incident and threatened to "kill someone" if his wife leaves him.
Several officers were assigned to arrest the defendant from his home in Fagaima, however, when cops approached the house, the defendant fled and hid under a tree. A few moments later, police were able to apprehend the defendant and he was transported to the police station.
When questioned by police, the defendant denied stabbing his wife, saying he cut himself while arguing with his wife and when she tried to take 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, and sustained a fractured bone. The victim underwent surgery to remove a piece of broken bone lodged in her arm.
According to court filings, the defendant was arrested before, for assaulting his wife.
The defendant is scheduled to appear in court next Monday to face additional charges the government anticipates filing against him.
According to court records, the defendant is not new to the system. In 2012, he was convicted of third degree assault and trespass, and was ordered to serve 30 days at the TCF as a condition of a 12-month probation sentence.
Three years later in 2015, the defendant was arrested again and convicted of third degree assault for beating his wife. The court ordered him to serve 30 days at the TCF as a condition of a 12-month probation sentence.