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Court Report: Overstayer's excuses and domestic abuse case

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The government has charged Panapa Afoa with one count each of trespassing and public peace disturbance, both misdemeanors, for his alleged involvement in an incident that occurred on the west side two weeks ago

During last week’s court proceedings, a motion by the defense attorney to release Mr. Afoa on his own recognizance was denied by the court, due to his illegal immigration status. He was then remanded back to the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) without bail.

Afoa told his attorney that his Immigration ID is still valid until May 21, 2020, however, according to a report from the Immigration Office that was presented to the court, his ID expired two years ago. Afoa’s wife, who is also his sponsor, left American Samoa with their four young children for Alaska in 2017 and has never returned.

Court information states that police responded to a call from a family gathering in Vaitogi two weeks ago on a Friday night, where Afoa was allegedly causing trouble and yelling profanities. His uncle tried to take him home but Afoa continued shouting profanities and inviting everyone at the family gathering to come and fight him.

He was then escorted away from the area where the gathering was held, however, he eventually returned and called out again for a fight. This time, he was holding a metal pipe. Male family members chased him home, where police later apprehended him. According to police, Afoa admitted that he had been drinking, and he “reeked of alcohol.”

Court records show that Afoa has a previous conviction from 2015, for trespass and 3rd degree assault and was sentenced to probation.

His previous conviction occurred when he went to his neighbor’s property at night uninvited and assaulted another man. Afoa was heavily intoxicated when police arrested him; and, he told police that the man he assaulted punched his 15-year-old nephew twice in the face.

Afoa’s next hearing is scheduled for May 26th.


A man accused of assaulting his wife appeared in District Court last week. He is charged with third degree assault and private peace disturbance. The government alleges that around 6:30p.m on a Wednesday night in Tafeta, a woman called police regarding her sister who was allegedly being assaulted by her husband.

According to the victim’s sister, she was at home when she heard her sister screaming for help. She said she rushed over and saw her sister’s husband (defendant) choking his wife (victim) with one hand, while holding a screwdriver in his other hand. According to the victim’s sister, the husband held the screwdriver to his wife’s throat.

The defendant left the house and ran out into the dark when he heard his wife’s sister yelling at him. While leaving, the defendant allegedly told his wife he would kill her when he returned home.

When interviewed by police, the victim said her husband cussed at her and accused her of using him to feed her family, and that he knows she’s having an affair with a man who lives next door.

The victim told police that as she was trying to calm her husband down, he started throwing punches at her in front of their kids. She said she pushed him away but he grabbed a long screwdriver from his tool box and put it to her throat while choking her with his other hand. For her safety, the victim requested police to detain her husband because he threatened to assault her again when he came home.

Aside from the alleged beating, the wife told police that she suspects her husband is doing drugs. She said that two weeks ago, she discovered a glass pipe commonly used to smoke ice inside her husband’s bag. When she confronted him about the glass pipe, her husband lied to her, saying that he used the glass pipe to smoke his cigarettes.

Two days later, the defendant was apprehended by police at his friend’s home in Taputimu and taken into custody. At his initial appearance, he was remanded to custody until he can post a $1,000 bond, subject to the condition that he is not to make any direct or indirect contact with his wife.

Pretrial conference is May 19th, 2020