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Young man arrested after stabbing — and cops got his mother too

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 19-year-old young man from Vaitogi was arrested by police last week on the allegation that he stabbed another man.

Solomona Gauta made his initial appearance before Judge Elvis P. Patea last week where his bail was set at the amount of $5,000. Gauta’s preliminary examination is now set for Friday this week, Mar. 20th at 10:30a.m.

Gauta, who is represented by Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart is 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.

Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.


According to the government’s case, it was around 4:17 p.m on Feb. 17, 2020 when police at the Tafuna Substation (TSS) received a call from a woman, saying that her son had been assaulted by another person and is being taken to the LBJ Hospital by ambulance for further treatment.

Several police officers responded to the call and found out that a 27-year-old man suffered severe injuries to his lower back and he needed immediately surgery.

Investigators interviewed the victim’s mother, who informed them that her son (victim) was allegedly assaulted by man from the Solomona family in Vaitogi. The mother further stated to investigators that her son was assaulted while he was with his girlfriend.

Investigators learned that the victim’s girlfriend is the sister of the suspect in this matter, and the victim was allegedly assaulted while he was with her inside a room.

Investigators went over to the Solomona family and requested to interview the suspect, and they were later informed by family members that the suspect is the son of Josephine Samatua-Gauta, also known as “Ka’e”. Investigators were unable to locate the suspect and a request was made to his family to transport the suspect to the Tafuna Sub-station for an interview regarding the alleged incident.

As investigators were looking for an eyewitness, the victim’s mother told investigators that according to her son (victim) he was in the room with his girlfriend when the alleged assault took place.

Investigators were able to bring the girlfriend in for an interview. The girlfriend told investigators that she was not around when her brother (suspect) allegedly stabbed the victim. All she knew was that she and her boyfriend (victim) were shocked when her brother (suspect) kicked the door open and that’s when her boyfriend (victim) and her brother got into a fight.

According to the witness, she tried hard to stop the fight but it was getting out of hand and that’s when she ran outside calling for help and few moments later, she noticed her boyfriend running outside from the house covered in blood. She immediately took her boyfriend to seek help.

When investigators asked the witness if she saw the suspect stab the victim, the witness responded, “I did not see that part because I was outside of the house.”

A day after the alleged incident, investigators spoke to the victim about the incident.

According to the victim’s statement, he was inside the room with his girlfriend when the suspect barged in and they immediately got into a fight. During their fight the suspect allegedly stabbed his side with a knife. The victim further told investigators that when he got the knife away, he then ran outside for help.

Investigators also interviewed a nurse regarding the victim’s injury and she verbally stated that the victim would be held in the Surgery Ward for a while due to his injury and that the doctor wanted to treat him (victim) with antibiotics. Furthermore, the victim’s kidney was injured during the stabbing and the wound is 7.7cm deep.

It was a day after the alleged incident that the suspect walked into the Tafuna Sub-station accompanied by his mother.

After reading him his constitutional rights, the suspect told investigators that he understood and agreed to make a statement regarding the incident.

The suspect told investigators that he was outside of the house when he heard his sister scream and when he went into the room, he saw the victim on top of her with his hands around her sister’s neck. He grabbed the victim and that’s when they started to fight.

According to the suspect’s statement, he punched the victim causing him to fall on the glass table inside the room. The victim then stood up and ran outside for help.

When the lead investigator examined the crime scene, the area was already cleaned up and she did not find the assault weapon. She only observed blood splatter on the walls inside the room where the alleged incident took place.

Two days later the victim was released from the LBJ Hospital and investigators interviewed him again.

According to the victim’s second interview with investigators he told them while he was inside the room with his girlfriend, the suspect kicked the door open and he rushed in holding two knives.

The victim and his girlfriend tried to stop the suspect but he was too big and heavy. According to the victim, that’s when the suspect stabbed him in his back. He then took the knife that he got stabbed with and tossed it behind him and made his way out of the room. The victim told investigators that the knife he got stabbed with, was a silver butter knife.

Investigators also interviewed the victim’s girlfriend again and cautioned her to tell the truth. She said she was inside the room trying to hold her brother back but he was too strong and he kept wanting to stab her boyfriend. She said she tried to push her brother away from her boyfriend but she couldn’t and that’s when she ran outside and called for help. When she came back in the room, her brother (the suspect) cried out to call the ambulance because the victim was hurt.

The suspect was arrested, as was his mother Samatua-Gauta, who is charged in a separate case, where she and a Correctional Officer are accused of allegedly smuggling illegal drugs and cell phones into the TCF to her boyfriend, an inmate. (She is identified as Josephine Siamau in yesterday’s front page story of her arrest.)