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Man pleads guilty to felony assault for striking another man with a machete

Territorial Correctional Facility, TCF

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 56-year-old man from Samoa accused of causing severe injuries to another person with a machete has pled guilty.

Faamanu Petelo, who remains in custody unable to post a $10,000 surety bond, was initially charged with second-degree assault, a felony, and two misdemeanors: third degree assault and public peace disturbance.

But under a plea agreement with the government, Petelo pled guilty to second-degree assault. The remaining charges were dismissed.

Petelo admits that on or about Nov. 30, 2017 he caused severe injuries to Apisaloma Kelemete by striking his head and back with a machete. Petelo told the court it was his anger that caused him to injure his nephew.

According to terms of the plea agreement, Petelo admits that he became angry when he found out from his neighbors that it was Kelemete who was stealing from his plantation. Petelo confronted Kelemete at a volleyball game in Pavaiai and asked him why he stole from him.     

Kelemete was embarrassed by Petelo's actions, and this caused him to walk over and punch Petelo in the face, causing Petelo to fall to the ground.

Thereafter, Petelo got up and left the volleyball field.

After the volleyball game, while Kelemete was making his way home, he saw Petelo waiting for him in front of his home. As Kelemete tried to explain to Petelo why he punched him, Petelo pulled out a machete — which was concealed behind his back — and struck Kelemete on his head and back twice, causing severe injuries.

The government has recommended to the court to order Petelo to depart the territory as part of a probated sentence.

For now, Petelo is remanded back to custody at TCF. He will be sentenced July 12, 2019.