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Tongan Police Officers involved in US suspect’s escape to stand trial as accused granted extradition

Several Police officers in Vavaʻu, Tonga will f.ce a tribunal next week following a ministerial investigation into their involvement in the escape of American murder suspect Dean Jay Fletcher, the Kaniva news reports,

Tonga’s Police Minister Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa told Parliament Monday the tribunal was expected to be held next Wednesday, February 15.

He said police wanted to know why the murder suspect had escaped.

Fletcher, 54, fled from Vava’u police in September while he awaiting a murder trial. He was accused of killing his wife, Patricia Linne Kearney.

Kaniva News reports Kearney was found beaten to death while the couple’s yacht, the Sea Oak, was anchored in the northern islands of Vava’u late in July.

Fletcher was recaptured by authorities in American Samoa a few days after he fled.

The Minister said Tonga has contacted the US authorities, asking them to escort Fletcher back to Tonga.

“The man was a soldier and it would be more secure for the US to bring him back for his trial here,” Tuʻiʻonetoa said.

The Federal court in Honolulu last week allowed the extradition of Fletcher to Tonga.

The US Department of Justice requested his extradition after he was turned over to US Marshal Service agents in Pago Pago and taken to Honolulu.

US Magistrate Judge Kenneth Mansfield concluded that Fletcher could be sent back to Tonga for each offence for which extradition was requested.

Under US Federal law, the US Secretary of State will make the final decision to extradite Fletcher, who remains in the custody of the US Marshal Service in Honolulu.

Source: Kaniva News
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