Young boy testifies about when his father ‘killed’ his mother
A nine-year old boy took the stand, yesterday morning, during the jury trial of his father, Mataupu Mamona, to tell the jury of what he had witnessed when his father allegedly his mother.
Mamona is facing charges of second-degree murder, assault in the first degree, making false reports and two counts of private peace disturbance.
The police initially ruled the case an attempted suicide and the family proceeded with the funeral. However, new information surfaced afterwards which led to the arrest of Mamona in April of last year.
Jury selection started Monday with a jury of four women and three men hearing opening statements yesterday morning, followed by the testimony of the government’s key witness, the defendant’s nine-year old son, who was called to the stand by Assistant Attorney General Gerald Murphy. The young boy’s testimony was given mainly in Samoan.
During his statement under oath, the boy recalled his parents arguing when his mother asked Mamona for bus fare. They argued and then headed into the bedroom where his mother kicked the door, and then “my father beat my mother and then he left in his car,” said the witness in Samoan.
He said his father returned, and then continued to beat his mother, and then retrieved a black rope from a suitcase.
Assistant AG, Murphy asked how the boy saw what happened inside the bedroom and he responded, “There was a hole in the bedroom door.” According to the 9-year old, his father held his mother’s head with his right hand and tied the rope around her neck with his left hand. Murphy asked what happened to his mother then; and he said she was “mole” (out of breath).
He further told the court that he was standing there while his father was doing this and his father told him, “Don’t tell anyone or I will beat you” in Samoan.
Assistant AG, Murphy asked the witness if the defendant told him this while he was allegedly strangling his mother and the boy said “yes.”
Murphy then asked the witness if he noticed anything about his mother and the boy said yes — he noticed that his mother’s eyes rolled up and all he could see was the white part of her eyes.
“After that he changed my mother’s clothes and he told me to get ice water but she could not drink it and the he called the ambulance,” said the witness.
According to the witness, his father told the Emergency Medical Services that his mother had asthma.
Murphy asked the witness if his mother had asthma and he replied, “No, he told them (EMS) that she has asthma.”
The witness said he didn’t tell anyone of the incident until his father wasn’t around. (Samoa News notes that the matter came to light when the boy’s teacher contacted the police about the incident that he was telling his classmates.)
The young boy told the court that he told his cousins about what had happened and then he told his teacher at school and that’s when the police got involved.
Witness cross-examination was brief, lasting no more than 20 minutes, and this included the English translation from Samoan.
Public Defender Douglas Fiaui pointed out to the witness that when he was asked at first if he had any family member(s) in the courtroom, he said no just his father.
“You don’t consider your father a member of your family anymore, asked the PD to the young boy who responded, “No.” The young boy said that his “father Amataga Sione (his grandfather)” told him that.
Fiaui asked the young boy if he had told anyone else in his family before he told his teacher, and he responded that he had told his auntie and grandmother, then his cousins and then his teacher.
The PD further asked the young boy about the date of when the police took his statement, which he said happened on a Saturday, and after the PD queried his answer, corrected his answer, saying it was on Thursday.
It was during his opening statement, Fiaui told the jury of what the defense believes happened on February 11, 2016, that the defendant’s wife was stressed from so many things going on that she ended her life.
The Public Defender explained that the defendant had found another man’s clothes and undergarments inside the vehicle they shared, and when he confronted his wife, they got into an argument and she denied being unfaithful.
He said that the wife was angry and the argument continued through the night and the next day, Mamona went to work and did not answer any of his wife’s phone calls. Mamona then returned during lunch hour and they argued again. He picked up their kids the same day after school and they continued to argrue.
Mamona then left the house and while in Malaeimi his wife called him and said, “You see what’s going to happen.”
The defendant then turned around and went home and inside their bedroom he found his wife hanging from a rope. He grabbed her and removed the rope and laid her on the floor.
The Public Defender told the jury that Mamona tried to revive his wife, as she was unconscious. He kept on punching her chest and shaking her shoulders and then she finally breathed and when he looked up he saw his son (the witness) standing at the door.
According to Fiaui, the son got water, but his mother was unable to drink as she was unconscious and Mamona then carried her to the living room and called the EMS for assistance.
The trial continues today, and barring any surprises, is expected to be laid to rest on Thursday for jury deliberations.