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Inmate in jail for murder pleads guilty to stabbing another inmate

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — An inmate accused of stabbing another inmate with a kitchen knife has entered into a plea agreement with the government.

Faufano Fa’auliuli, who is serving a lengthy sentence for the murder of his brother several years ago in Aunu’u appeared before Chief Justice Michael Kruse yesterday for a Change of Plea (COP) hearing.

He was initially charged with one count of second degree assault, a class D felony punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both. Pursuant to the plea agreement presented to the court yesterday morning, Fa’auliuli agreed to plead guilty to second degree assault - what he was initially charged with.

Faauliuli admits that on Aug. 13, 2019 he used a kitchen knife to stab Joe Leota on his upper back because he was angry that he was not talking to him anymore.

According to terms of the plea agreement, on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, a verbal argument broke out between Fa’auliuli and another inmate (the victim), after the victim failed to return things he borrowed from Faauliuli.

Several inmates told investigators that Faauliuli and the victim are good friends, they hang out and do things together during meal time and throughout the day. On Monday, Aug. 12, Faauliuli and the victim discussed what happened the day before. The two worked things out and eventually shook hands and hugged.

Faauliuli then asked the victim to bring his stuff back, and the victim did so. The victim told investigators that on Tuesday morning, Aug. 13th, he was shocked when Fa’auliuli stabbed him in the back. He fought off Faauliuli and other inmates ran over to assist him.

When asked about the alleged incident, Faauliuli told police he got upset with the victim on Sunday after he went over to hang out with him, and the victim told him not to bother him anymore.

Faauliuli said the victim is his only friend at TCF. Not only did he trust him but he always shared what he had with him.

According to Faauliuli, he and the victim worked things out Monday morning; but that same evening, as he sat in his cell and thought about how the victim told him not to bother him anymore — he got angry all over again. He couldn’t sleep and waited for the next morning.

Faauliuli said when he saw the victim getting ready for his trustee duties, he grabbed a knife, walked over and stabbed him in the back while the victim was bent over the sink brushing his teeth.

Faauliuli said he couldn’t hold his anger and just wanted to hurt the victim. According to him, he’s had the knife in his cell for about 3 years.

Faauliuli will be sentenced Jan. 24, 2020.


Faauliuli is serving a 30-year sentence for the death of his brother. He was initially charged with first degree murder; but under a plea agreement, he pled guilty to second degree murder.

Faauliuli used an electrical cord to strangle his sick brother who was lying in bed, before he notified authorities. Faauliuli was his brother’s caregiver.