Accused husband denies murdering his wife

Rula Vaai

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Kolani Junior Lam is accused of murdering his wife Sa’u Justina Lam 20 October 2018

 

By Rula Su’a – Vaai

 

APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY 11 OCTOBER 2019: The husband accused of murdering his wife has denied the charge and described his wife, as a loving, committed and good hearted person.

Kolani Junior Lam is standing trial for the murder of Sa’u Justina Fiapaipai Sa’u on 20 October 2018. He described his late wife as a person who takes the lead in making sure that everything is well organized especially when it comes to family matters.

“She loves our children; my children from first relationship and her children from her first marriage to Johnny Kelsall,” Kolani told the court when he took the stand yesterday.

In their relationship, Kolani said he always told Justina that he had no interest in her money, or what she had but he loved her because of her humble personality and being someone who is faithful between them.

Kolani admitted that he slapped Justina once as a result of an argument where Justina allegedly smashed the sliding door of their home. Kolani said he tried to calm down her, but she refused and went inside their bedroom and threw things around.

“I slapped her and told her to stop it.” When the defense lawyer asked Kolani about an incident where he threw a teapot at Justina’s head, he said his intention was to throw the teapot against the wall, however the teapot hit the edge of the wall, bounced back and hit Justina on the head.

Kolani also disputed the babysitter’s testimony that he strangled Justina, but admitted that when she was drunk, Justina would sometimes yell saying ‘she would rather die than living like a slave.’

On the night of the 20 October 2018
On this night, Kolani said he asked Justina how he looked, and that he wanted to have a big body like that of Henry Tuilagi. He told Justina that he does workout so that he looks good for her only.

“Justina all of sudden told me that Johnny (her ex-husband) had a good body, his chest was perfect, and he had attractive abs. I was shocked, and I told her I do not want to hear it, and I stood up and walked to the back of the house and smoked a cigarette.”

Kolani said, Justina later joined him, and talked about her ex-husband saying that Johnny was a drug dealer. “I told her again I do not want to hear about her ex-husband.”

Kolani said, he then went and checked on his children and his twins who were all asleep. He went to the toilet, and went back to where Justina was standing. “I saw that she wasn’t there, then I went to look for her.”

Vinegar Tree
Kolani said he saw half of his wife’s body hanging from the vinegar tree branch. “I ran to her and I saw her whole body hanging from the branch. Her feet touched the ground, and her knees were slightly twisted,” said Kolani.

“I grabbed her feet, and tried to push her body so to loosen the rope around her neck, but every time I tried to push her upwards, her body twisted and made it very hard for me to loosen the rope around her neck.”

Kolani said he then ran back to the house and grabbed the kitchen knife and cut her loose, and in the process scratched her neck.

First Aid – Mouth to Mouth (CPR)
Kolani said he performed CPR to try and resuscitate his wife. “I was doing the CPR when I saw the rope was still around her neck. So I took the rope off and tried CPR but it was late to save my wife.”

Kolani said he rushed to wake up his twin children and told one of them to go and wake up his cousin Ronald and his aunty Mareta.

Ronald tried the CPR but it was too late. Kolani said they then grabbed the sheets from the house and lifted Justina into the house. “Because I didn’t want Justina to lie like that under the vinegar tree.”

Kolani said it was his aunty Mareta, and Ronald who took Justina to the hospital. “I decided to stay to look after the children because I knew Justina is gone.”

The babysitter Meaali’i’s evidence
Defense counsel asked Kolani about Meaalii’s evidence, where she said, Kolani told her to lie to the police. Kolani denied saying that to her. He said he only told Meaalii to tell the police whatever she knew.

Future plans with Justina
“If my wife was not dead, we would have been in New Zealand by now,” said Kolani. “Our plans were for Justina to resign from her job at UTO’s, sell everything she had and we move to New Zealand. We want to go to New Zealand, rebuild our family and make more babies.”

Apology
Counsel Koria then asked his client whether he had anything to say. Kolani said yes, and he wanted to apologize to the Judge, but he was stopped by Judge Niava Mata Tuatagaloa as inappropriate.

The trial continues with prosecution to cross examine the accused.