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Sentencing scheduled for man in beating and attempted rape of wife

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 27-year-old man accused of beating up his wife and trying to have sex with her in front of her friend, who tried to stop the assault, has entered into a plea agreement with the government.  The man has a pending domestic violence charge involving the same victim.

To protect the identity of the victim, Samoa News is withholding the names of all parties involved.

The defendant, who has been in custody since his arrest in August of last year, unable to post $25,000 bail, appeared in High Court last week for a change of plea hearing.

He is charged with one count of attempted rape and one count of 1st degree sexual abuse, both class C felonies, punishable by terms of imprisonment of up 7 years, a fine of $5,000, or both, along with one count of 3rd degree assault and private peace disturbance, both misdemeanors.

However, under a plea agreement with the government, also accepted by the court, the defendant pled guilty to count three of felonious restraint, a class C felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 7 years, a fine of up to $5,000, and one count of assault in the third degree, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

By his guilty plea, the defendant admits that on Aug. 2, 2020, he stopped the victim from leaving the room by pushing her down and pulling her hair. He further stated that on the date of the incident, he assaulted the victim — his wife — by grabbing her by the shoulder and pushing her against the wall.

According to terms of the plea agreement, this matter was reported to police by the victim’s friend, who requested police assistance at her house, after the defendant assault the victim.

Before the victim was interviewed, officers could see her dress was torn and dirty. She didn’t have any bruises on her right shoulder but she was feeling pain when she moved it.

When asked about the alleged incident, the victim stated to investigators that she was at a retirement party for a friend. She and her friend left early to go home and spend the night at her friend’s (the woman who reported the incident) house. The victim was inside with another person while her friend was in and out of the room because she was drinking with some people outside.

The victim was awakened by her friend telling her that her husband (defendant) was outside crying and wanting to talk to her (victim). The victim went outside and told the defendant he’s not supposed to be there due to an order of the court, but the defendant kept saying he wanted to talk.

The victim kept saying no and turned to head back inside the house, however, the defendant immediately pulled her dress so hard that she ended up falling on her back. The defendant grabbed the victim by the neck and put his weight on top of her to hold her down while at the same time trying to cover her mouth with one hand and holding her hands down with the other.

The victim tried to move side to side but the defendant forcefully removed her clothes and tried to sexually assault her, but the victim kept pushing him away. The defendant allegedly did not succeed in raping her.

At one point the victim tried to punch the wall of the house in an effort to get the attention of her friend, but the defendant held her hands back. The victim tried again to punch the wall but the defendant pulled her arm so hard it caused her hand to be dislocated.

The victim’s friend did make her way outside of the house and she witnessed the defendant’s actions against the victim.

Investigators were able to interview the friend who is the main witness in this case.

According to her statement, she witnessed everything. They were drinking outside of her house when the defendant arrived and asked her if he could see the victim inside the house, but she didn’t agree, she said.

The witness stated that at some point the victim left and the next thing she heard was a person calling out to her for help outside of her house. She ran outside to check and discovered the defendant choking the victim while holding her body down.

The witness immediately ran to her friend and tried her best to move the defendant away from the victim, while the victim continued to cry and call out for help. Finally, the victim managed to escape and ran inside the house. Police were notified at that time.

When questioned by investigators, the defendant stated that his wife messaged him around 10:30p.m to 11:00 to come get her at the party, but the defendant knew that he and the victim were ordered by the Court to not have any contact due to their previous domestic case.

The defendant then messaged his wife’s friend to please take his wife home from the party. However, the victim messaged him again that she was at her friend’s house but he refused to go there because of their case. Later on that night, the friend messaged the defendant for cigarettes and that’s why he went over to the house.

According to the court affidavit, when the defendant arrived at the house, he asked the friend if his wife (victim) was in her house but the friend said no. So the defendant left and went back to his house. Later, on that same night, the victim messaged the defendant again and told him that she (victim) was hiding in her friend’s room. That’s when the defendant found out that the friend had lied to him about his wife’s (victim) location.

The defendant then went back to the house and saw his wife, the friend and three men drinking at the residence. The defendant was sitting in front of the main road and was later invited to join the drinking session. After the drinking session, both the friend and the victim told the defendant to come sleep inside the house. That’s when the friend gave the defendant a bed sheet and a pillow.

Allegedly later on that night, the victim came outside to the defendant and they were making loving when the defendant whispered in the victim’s ear asking “Who was the guy you made love with before I came?” and it angered the victim to the point where she started to pretend that the defendant had done something wrong to her by hitting the wall with her leg and arm.

The defendant tried his best to calm his wife down but his wife was pushing the defendant away by his neck. The friend came outside and found the victim crying for help and saying he broke her arm. That’s when the friend called police and the defendant stayed there until the police arrived.

As part of the plea agreement, the court will dismiss all remaining counts along with the defendant’s pending case in District Court.

Before he was arrested, the defendant was a member of the US Army Reserve.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 8th and the defendant is still in custody.