August 05, 2009

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press

Peilapalap, Pohnpei, FSM - The murder trial of DJ Jeilo has been postponed pending a court meeting scheduled for August 14, 2009.

Jeilo stands accused of brutally murdering Ron Kersey in Kersey's home on the evening of June 18.

Kersey, a U.S. citizen, had lived in Pohnpei for many years.

The continuance of the trial from the initial hearing on July 17 had previously been scheduled to take place on the afternoon of the 24th of July.

According to the Attorney General's office and the Chief Clerk of the Supreme Court, during the week following the first hearing, Jeilo's attorney from the public defender's office, suffered a stroke.

The meeting that is scheduled for the 14th is for the court to determine whether or not the Public Defender's office is ready to continue the trial.

In the initial hearing, Chief Justice Benjamin Rodriguez said that he would rule on bail considerations by the 20th or 21st. At press time Rodriguez had not ruled on the Attorney General's motion to increase Jeilo's bail to $100,000. He also had not ruled on the issue of whether or not a 10% payment on the initial bail would be sufficient for Jeilo's release. If the court accepts the payment amount of $250 Jeilo could be released from prison. That deposit would "guarantee" that Jeilo would appear before the court when scheduled. If he fails to do so he would be liable for the entire $2500 the court initially set as bail.

The prosecutor argued that the ruling by the Chief Justice required Jeilo to deposit the entire bail amount of $2500 ordered by the court.

He also petitioned the court to increase the amount of bail to $100,000. He argued that the fact that Jeilo had been scheduled to appear before the court on another felony matter on the day after he allegedly murdered Ron Kersey showed that he had no regard for the law. He pointed out that Jeilo had also done jail time for other offenses in the past.

Since the hearing on the 17th of July, the prosecutor also requested that the court rescind sentences that were suspended by the Supreme Court in previous cases. He argued that recent arrests have showed that Jeilo has no respect for the law and that he should be required to serve out sentences that were earlier suspended by the court.

If the court agrees, Jeilo could serve a year or more in Pohnpei State prison for those earlier offenses.

At press time DJ Jeilo was still in jail pending the outcome of the trial at the Pohnpei State Supreme Court or a decision by Chief Justice Benjamin Rodriguez regarding the status of his bail application.