Two men face charges in separate knife assaults
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The 32-year-old man from Tafuna accused of using a knife to assault another man has been arrested and charged with second degree assault, a felony, and two misdemeanor charges: unlawful use of a weapon and public peace disturbance.
The charges against William Amituana’i stem from an incident that occurred last week in Tafuna, during which he allegedly used a knife to assault and severely injure another man. According to the police report, Amituana’i and the victim got into a disagreement. The victim allegedly assaulted Amituana’i by punching him in the face, leaving a cut on his left eye.
Amituana’i went home and a few moments later, returned with a knife in hand and allegedly assaulted the victim by stabbing him in the back and his left shoulder multiple times.
Amituana’i made his initial appearance in District Court this week, where he waived his right to a PX. His next court appearance is today in High Court, where he is expected to enter a ‘not guilty’ plea to the charges.
Defense attorney Ryan Nelson asked for a reduction in bail, from $5,000 to $2,000, saying Amituana’i is a hard working man, and the only member of his family who works to provide for his wife and two children. Nelson said Amituana’i is not a flight risk, he has no intention of leaving his family.
Prosecutor Laura Garvey opposed the motion, saying the bail amount set by the court is proper for the alleged offense. The motion was denied and bail remains at $5,000.
Vaili Semeatu, who pled guilty to third degree assault last week, a charge amended from assault in the first degree, was sentenced to time served.
During the plea agreement hearing, the defendant admitted pulling a knife on the victim.
Associate Justice Fiti Sunia asked the defendant if he agrees that it’s unfair that he was the only one charged in the altercation, and if the complaining witness should have also been charged - the defendant replied “yes”.
According to the government, police received a report from the complainant that the defendant had stabbed him in the hand, and accused him of stealing from his house and also attempted to stab him in the leg.
Court documents state that it was the EMS crew who treated the victim for injuries sustained from the attack, and the injuries were not serious. The incident took place in front of a Tafuna store.
Police confiscated the knife from the defendant’s residence, and it was turned in to the police evidence room. According to the Pre Sentence Report (PSR), Semeatu served 9 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) in pretrial confinement.