17 Jan 2006

American Samoa murder accused loses bid for trial in United States

2:20 pm on 17 January 2006

A man accused of murder in American Samoa has lost a court bid to have the trial transferred to the United States.

In Washington, the District Court of Columbia has granted a motion by Secretary of Interior, Gale Norton, to dismiss murder defendant Richard Mahjor's petition for an injunction to stop his incarceration in American Samoa and his trial for the murder of Wyatt Bowles Junior from being held there.

Mr Mahjor's attorney Eric Seitz informed KHJ News that after an hour-long hearing in the federal court of the District of Columbia today, the presiding judge granted the Interior Secretary's motion for dismissal.

Mr Mahjor's petition for an injunction to stop his incarceration and trial in the territory was denied.

A major argument that Mr Mahjor's attorney cited was that his client would be denied a trial by a fair and impartial jury in American Samoa because of heavy publicity about the Mr Bowles disappearance case.

On February the 7th, Mr Mahjor is scheduled to go on trial before the High Court of American Samoa for Mr Bowles' murder.