Woman allegedly admits to brutal murder of girlfriend in Pago Pago
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A woman accused of strangling her girlfriend to death and leaving her body inside their apartment in Pago Pago for six hours before reporting the incident to authorities is now in custody after she was arrested by police last week. When questioned by investigators, the suspect, Silei Sakalia stated that she had planned to kill her girlfriend before she did it.
Sakalia made her initial appearance before District Court Judge Gwen Tauiliili-Langkilde last Wednesday morning.
She is charged with a single count of 1st degree murder, a class A felony punishable by death, a term of imprisonment for life, or a term of imprisonment of years not less than 10 years not to exceed 30 years.
Due to the seriousness of this case, the defendant is being held in custody without bail.
Sakalia is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow morning, Oct. 19th for her preliminary examination (PX).
On Oct. 11, 2021 at approximately 4p.m, the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) received a call regarding a possible homicide case in the village of Pago Pago.
A senior CID detective initially met with an unknown female regarding the incident. The female was later identified as Silei Sakalia, the defendant in this matter. Sakalia reported to the senior investigator that she had killed her girlfriend and her body was inside their apartment home in Pago Pago.
Subsequent to receiving this information, several CID detectives proceeded to Pago Pago to check on the victim. When detectives arrived they were able to meet up with the landlord’s son who directed them to the apartment Sakalia and the victim rented.
Detectives arrived at the room and observed that the room was secured with a padlock, from the outside. The padlock was unlocked using a key given to them by Sakalia and detectives entered the room and observed a motionless body on the floor, face up. The body was covered from the neck down, by a blanket. Investigators checked for pulse on the victim but none was felt, and the body was cold and stiff. EMS was contacted for assistance.
Around 5:50p.m on the same day, EMS arrived and transported the victim’s body to LBJ Hospital where the victim was placed in the trauma room for examination. A doctor who attended the victim’s body administered the examination and the victim was pronounced dead on arrival on Oct. 11.
The cause of death was stated to have been unknown at the time, the presiding doctor added that the victim had been dead for approximately more than six hours.
On the same day at approximately 8:20p.m, Sakalia was Mirandized, after which she stated she understood her rights and wanted to make a statement to investigators about the incident, which led to the death of the victim.
Sakalia reported that she stood over the victim, placed both hands on the victim’s neck, and strangled her. Sakalia stated that she put all of her weight into it in order to kill the victim. She added that she did not stop strangling the victim until after about 5 minutes.
The victim was gasping for air and was moving uncontrollably trying to get Sakalia to release her, according to Sakalia. She further stated that she let go only after the victim’s face turned bluish in color and her tongue was slightly protruded between her teeth.
Sakalia then placed the victim’s head on a pillow as if she were sleeping, covered her with a blanket and then left the apartment. She locked the room from the outside using the padlock.
After interviewing Sakalia, she was then booked and later transported to the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) for confinement. However, Sakalia was interviewed again the next day after investigators received new information that was not consistent with Sakalia’s report of the events leading to the victim’s death.
On the next day, Oct. 12th, Sakalia was again Mirandized, after which she stated she understood her rights and wanted to make a statement about the incident.
Sakalia reported that around 5a.m on the date of the incident, she knew at this point that she was going to kill her girlfriend.
According to the police report, Sakalia made a similar statement to investigators as the one she had made the day before.
She further stated to investigators that she was mad at her girlfriend and that was why she decided to end her life. As she was sitting inside the room thinking about her plan, she saw the victim lying on her bed sleeping. A few moments later, she executed her plan to kill her girlfriend.
Sakalia did not reveal any further motives for her action to investigators. All she explained was that she planned to kill her girlfriend two days prior to the incident. She said that she was really mad at her and had reached the point that she couldn’t hold off her anger and that’s why she did what she did.
She also explained that their relationship was smooth and that her girlfriend was a loving person who treated her fairly, however, it was during the previous weekend that feeling towards her girlfriend changed and she and decided to kill her. After she strangled her, she decided to leave the room and go straight to police, however, she changed her plan and decided to wait a little bit until the later in the afternoon before she reported the matter to police.
REACTIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
The victim’s Facebook was flush with a lot of messages from her family, friends and especially her co-workers at the cannery when they heard the news of her sudden death.
One of the victim’s friends posted something on the victim’s Facebook page saying, “I’m so speechless when I heard the news about you. How can I say happy birthday and Rest In Peace at the same time, especially when it’s not God’s will. Happy 52nd birthday and may you Rest In Peace Mama.”
Another friend posted on the victim’s Facebook page saying, “The first day I met you at work you were so friendly, kind, humble and caring person. We so dearly miss you our friend. Our hearts break into pieces knowing that we will not see you again. Thank you for the many memories you left. Your smiling face every morning and your voice will still be remembered. May you R.I.P”.
The victim’s son also posted on his Facebook page, saying, “Left home in 2010 not realizing it would be the last time I’ll ever see you. I really miss you my dear Mother. I wish I could’ve done more for you!”