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Vaitogi road dispute leads to arrest of man threatening with machete

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The court has set bail at $500 for Malaki Lafaele, who was taken into custody last week following an incident in Vaitogi where he is alleged to have gone to his neighbor’s home with a machete, and also challenged people in the neighborhood to a fight.

Lafaele, who made his initial appearance in court last week, is charged with misdemeanor public peace disturbance (PPD).

The prosecutor told the court that the government may file additional charges, as the police investigation continues on allegations of possible trespassing and making verbal threats.

If Lafaele is able to post bail, he is ordered not to bother his neighbor or attempt to set foot on his property. He is also not to make any direct or indirect contact with him.

Lafaele will appear in court again Monday, Nov. 16th.

According to court information, the PPD charge stems from a disagreement between Lafaele and his neighbor over the access road used by both families. Lafaele contends that the neighbor should not be using the access road because he and his children have spent a lot of time cleaning it.

Not only have they planted trees and plants to make it look good but also maintained it by cleaning it everyday.

But the neighbor claims that the access road is on their family property and therefore, Lafaele and his family should not be using the road at all. The neighbor contacted police for assistance after Lafaele allegedly came to his house and used a machete in a threatening manner, in addition to making verbal threats to his elderly uncle who questioned Lafaele about his action.

It’s alleged that Lafaele’s actions came after a drinking session he had with friends at his home. When interviewed by police, Lafaele admitted that he had a machete and was making threatening statements to people in the neighborhood. He said he was just trying to prove a point to his neighbor, but he had no intention of hurting anyone.

Lafaele is not new to the court as in 2012 he was sentenced by the District Court to 24 months probation after being convicted of third degree assault and property damage, both class A misdemeanors.