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Crime & Courts

4 charged in ‘savage’ beating of man brought to hospital in dog kennel

From left, Faamanu Vaifanua, 28, Macauther Vaifanua, 29, Rex Faumui, 24, Jeffrey Ahvan, 29, and Tamole Lauina, 21, were being sought in connection with an attack on a man who was beaten and placed in a dog kennel August 13, 2017. Only Ahvan was in custody Wednesday morning. (Courtesy Anchorage Police Department)

A grand jury has indicted four Anchorage men on charges of attempting to kill a man Aug. 13 and placing him in a dog kennel, according to the district attorney's office.

Faamanu "Junior" Vaifanua, 28, Macauther Christmas "Mac" Vaifanua, 29, Jeffrey Ahvan, 29, and Rex Faumui, 24, were charged with first-degree attempted murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, assault, robbery, tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution, according to a statement Wednesday from Anchorage District Attorney Clint Campion.

Ahvan was apprehended by the Anchorage Police Department on Friday. The other three remain at large.

A fifth person, Tamole Lauina, 21, sought by authorities as a possible witness, also remains at large.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim was found badly hurt after being brought in a metal dog cage to the Alaska Native Medical Center. He remained in critical condition Wednesday.

A police investigation found that the victim owed several thousand dollars to a man identified in the charging documents as Macauther Vaifanua. The victim, who had become increasingly worried about the money he owed, asked a friend to drive him to Vaifanua's house on Cimarron Circle in East Anchorage on the afternoon of Aug. 13.

The friend told investigators the victim likely owed Vaifanua money for drugs, including methamphetamine and heroin, according to the criminal complaint.

Police discovered the residence had a security system with cameras, and video from a garage camera showed the beating. Investigators wrote that the assailants knew of the camera, pointing at it and laughing about it before the beating.

The video shows four men pacing around the victim, who is seen bound and struggling against restraints. The men are seen verbally taunting him before the beating.

Investigators wrote that the video showed Faamanu Vaifanua "repeatedly and forcefully (stomping) the victim's head into the concrete floor of the garage with his foot." Later, he is seen striking the victim in the torso and legs with an aluminum baseball bat.

Macauther Vaifanua is also seen beating the victim with a metal broom handle. Investigators noted that he did so with such force he bent the handle.

Investigators noted the beating appeared to be "savage and brutal."

"(Faamanu Vaifanua) delivered the blows with the bat with full force — and with a full swing — as if he were swinging an ax to split a round log," an investigator wrote. They noted the victim remained prostrate on the garage floor with his hands behind his back and was unable to defend himself.

When the beating concludes, the assailants are seen loading the victim into the metal dog kennel and placing a white blanket or tarp over it.

According to police, a man who was waiting for his girlfriend in a pickup in the area of Cimarron Circle was approached by a man he claimed to have never met. The man asked him to back his truck up to a garage in the area, where they loaded something into the back while the driver was held at gunpoint.

The man drove off and stopped to get a drink at nearby grocery store, where he discovered they had loaded a badly beaten man in a dog kennel into his truck. He then drove the man to hospital.

If convicted, the men face up to 99 years in prison for the attempted murder and kidnapping charges.

Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts should contact Anchorage police at 907-786-8900.

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