American accused of killing wife in Tonga, escaping on boat

A U.S. citizen is being held in Honolulu for extradition to Tonga, where he's accused of beating his wife to death, escaping police and sailing more than 300 miles to American Samoa.

Tonga officials told U.S. prosecutors that 54-year-old Dean Fletcher was indicted on a murder charge in the July death of his wife, Patricia Linne Kearney.

Court documents say witnesses saw Fletcher assaulting Kearney on a dinghy. The next day, Fletcher told police his wife fell down stairs on their yacht.

The documents say Fletcher fled in September and was last seen sailing away in a boat.

He traveled some 300 miles north to American Samoa, where he was arrested. He arrived in Honolulu Tuesday with U.S. marshals.

His federal public defender didn't immediately respond to messages for comment.