One man in court another two sought in attack on taxi driver
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — After defendant Solomona Samatua was arrested and charged for his alleged role in the assault of a taxi driver, whose taxi was also stolen, cops are still looking for the other two suspects, who are allegedly involved in this incident.
Samatua made his initial appearance in District Court last week.
He is charged with stealing, a class C felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to seven years, a $5,000 fine, or pursuant to A.S.C.A 46.2101, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from the commission of the crime, up to a maximum of $20,000, or both and imprisonment; along with one count of 3rd degree assault, a class A misdemeanor.
Bail is set at $5,000.
Preliminary examination is set for Friday this week, Oct. 23, 2020.
On Oct. 14th, 2020, a man called the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) to report that his vehicle had been stolen by three men after they allegedly assaulted him.
On the day in question, the victim told police he had gone to Vaitogi to pick up some passengers, but when he got there, he found out his passengers had already gone to Futiga. He then parked his vehicle in front of a house.
That was when Samatua and two other men, Solomona Gauta and Alesana (the affidavit does not identify ‘Alesana’ beyond the one name) approached him and forced their way into his vehicle. The victim told investigators that the three told him to drop them off at a place called “Laumei” in Vaitogi, and he agreed.
As the vehicle arrived at Laumei in Vaitogi, Gauta then allegedly punched him (the victim) in the eye, and the body area several times, while Samatua allegedly punched him several times from behind. The victim was able to get out of the vehicle; and he tried to find a rock to defend himself.
That was when Gauta jumped in the driver’s side and drove off with the vehicle with the defendant and Alesana in it. He tried to run after his vehicle but was not able to catch up to it, as he was injured and weak, he told investigators.
Immediately after the victim contacted TPS to report the alleged incident, police officers searched the Tafuna area in an effort to locate the vehicle.
The vehicle was allegedly found stopped at the Samatua Tire Shop in Tafuna, and Solomona Samatua was then brought to TPS, where he was booked and later confined at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF), awaiting the next sitting of the court.
DPS officers continue to search for the other two suspects.
(Samoa News notes that while the affidavit names the men who are alleged to be involved in the incident, it does not indicate how they were identified. The relationship of Solomona Samatua, if any, to the ownership of the Samatua Tire Shop was also not indicated in the affidavit.)