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Gov’t proceeds with sex case despite LBJ Lab destroying DNA sample

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The government is going forward with their case against Faavae Solomona even without what could have been one of their strongest pieces of evidence, the results of a DNA test.

Investigators recently discovered that the sample for the DNA test that was sent over to the LBJ Lab for testing had been destroyed.

When asked about their next move, prosecutor Laura Garvey stated that the jury trial will continue to move forward, and the government will present other physical evidence to support its case.

The case was continued from last month after the court granted the government’s motion for a two-week continuance, so that they could finalize their investigation, particularly the results from the DNA test.

Garvey told the court that when police officers went to LBJ two weeks ago to follow up on their investigation, that’s when they were informed that the samples had been destroyed.

(Samoa News notes there was no mention of how the samples at the LBJ Lab were destroyed.)

The court acknowledged the government’s statement about what happened and noted that it’s “one piece of evidence less for the government, but I’m assured that there is other evidence in order for the government to move forward with this trial.” Garvey responded, “Yes Your Honor.”

Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill asked the court for a two-week continuance, to give him more time to look at all the evidence in the case and to see what motions he needs to file before the trial begins.The court granted the defense’s motion and continued the case to Mar. 13 at 8:30 a.m.

Solomona is charged with sexual abuse in the first degree, a class D felony; and endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor.

The government alleges that around June 2018, the defendant sexually abused a 14-year-old girl by touching her in a sexual manner while she was sleeping.

Solomona has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $25,000 surety bond.