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Angry father uses beer bottle to strike the man who punched his son

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 45-year-old man who called police to report that a group of men were trying to assault him was later arrested on the allegation that he and his brother-in-law assaulted another man.

Tovia Li’o made his initial appearance last week where District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea set bail at $10,000. Li’o is facing multiple charges: second degree assault and resisting arrest, both class D felonies; and trespass and third property damage, both class A misdemeanors.

He waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and the case was bound over to High Court where he will be arraigned this morning.


On Oct. 7th, a woman contacted police to request an EMS unit for her son who sustained head injuries. Not long afterwards, police received another distress call. This time, it was from a man claiming that several men were trying to assault him in Malaeimi.

Police arrived at the scene and observed a handful of males standing several yards from a man who was later identified as Tovia Li’o, the defendant. One of the males told police they were there to confront “DOVI” (another name for Tovia) and his brother-in-law, because they assaulted one of their friends.

According to what Li’o told police, he and his brother-in-law had gotten into a fight with someone, and that person’s father (identified as Wayne) — along with other men — were trying to assault him and his brother-in-law as retaliation.

Police noted that Li’o reeked of alcohol and his eyes were bloodshot red. When asked to accompany them to the station for further questioning, Li’o refused and told the cops to leave the premises.

Officers tried to calm Li’o down but he continued to resist. He was then cuffed and taken into custody. Upon arrival at the police station, cops were notified about an assault case in Malaeimi, involving a 31-year-old man who was at the hospital. Li’o waited at the police station while police proceeded to LBJ where they met up with the victim’s mother.

According to the woman, her son was assaulted by a man named “DOVI”. She said her dog was being fussy and when she went to check what was going on, she heard someone say, “Wayne’s family has no say in this village”.

The woman told police that when she walked to the front of their house, she saw Li’o and his brother-in-law holding broken beer bottles, while her son was lying on the ground.

The woman said she ran to her son’s side and noticed that he had injuries to his head and facial area, and that’s when she called police for assistance.

Investigators spoke to the victim at the hospital the next day. According to him, he was standing in front of his house when he saw Li’o and his brother-in-law, Masui Toomata, walking towards him.

He said Li’o approached him and struck him in the head with a beer bottle, causing him to fall to the ground. While down, the victim said Li’o punched him three times in the face, leaving bruises and scratches near his eyes. The victim said Toomata stood by and did nothing to stop the assault.

When questioned by police, Li’o said he became angry after the victim assaulted his 18-year-old son during a basketball game the weekend before. He said he went looking for the victim but couldn’t find him until the night in question, when he and his brother-in-law were heading home following a drinking session.

He said he saw the victim standing in front of his house and when he asked him why he assaulted his son, the victim swore at him. Li’o admitted to police that he punched the victim’s face before striking his head with a beer bottle. Furthermore, he admits to punching the victim’s face while he was on the ground.

For his alleged role, Li’o’s brother-in-law is facing misdemeanor charges of trespass and public peace disturbance.