8 Oct 2016

Tongan prison escapee denied bail in American Samoa

5:26 pm on 8 October 2016
Dean Jay Fletcher

Dean Jay Fletcher taking a nap after arriving from Tonga in Pago Pago Photo: Tauva Esera

An American man charged with murder in Tonga, who fled the country on a yacht last week, has been denied bail in an American Samoa court.

Dean Jay Fletcher, a United States citizen, was being held on Vava'u after he was charged with the murder of his wife in July, but he escaped and sailed to American Samoa where he arrived on Monday.

He was detained by authorities as he tried to leave the territory again, and has been charged with entering the territory illegally, without the required documentation.

In court on Friday (Saturday NZT), the prosecution argued that because of Mr Fletcher's murder charge in Tonga, he was a risk to the public and should be refused bail.

The judge agreed.

Tonga's government says it is working to have Mr Fletcher returned to face the murder charge.