Only whats been reported here.. he is suspected of murdering his wife.. did a runner before the court date.
An American, facing charges of murder in Tonga
, escaped from Vava’u Police custody this morning and fled on his yacht. Tonga
Police are currently engaged in a dangerous confrontation with the man at sea, Northwest of Vava’u, and are attempting to re-apprehend*him.
Dean Jay Fletcher (54), escaped from police custody at Vava’u Police Station at approximately 3.30am this morning, 29 September*2016.
Police confirmed at 3:24pm that Fletcher used his own yacht to enable his*escape.
“At 06.00am Police on board the Police Boat “Kapakau ‘O Tafahi” located the escaped prisoner and his yacht at approximately 6 – 10 miles Northwest of Vava’u and are attempting to apprehend*him.
“The escaped prisoner is refusing to stop and making threats to himself and police officers, which has not allowed for a safe boarding at this stage. Further assistance has been dispatched to the area,” Tonga Police*stated.
Commissioner Steve Caldwell says that the full circumstances of Fletcher’s escape will be investigated. “But at this stage our priority is to safely apprehend and return Mr. Fletcher to custody,” he*said.
At 4:30pm the stand off was continuing with five Tongan police officers on the small Police search and rescue*boat.
Fletcher was first arrested in Tonga in July on a charge of manslaughter and detained in custody following the death of his Canadian wife (56) on a yacht in Neiafu, Vava'u, on July 7 this year. The accused and his wife had first arrived in Vava’u on their yacht, Sea Oak, on 26 May and docked at*the*Puatalefusi*Harbour.
On September 22 the Crown Prosecutor's office confirmed that the charges now included*murder.*
Under the Criminal Offences Act of Tonga the crimes of treason and murder can be punished by the death penalty (although in practice, Tonga has not utilised the death penalty for many years, with the last execution in 1982). Convictions for murder are rare, and those convicted may be spared the death penalty and sentenced instead to*life*imprisonment.