Fingerprint evidence leads to confession and guilty plea in FSM office break in

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

February 21, 2018

Palikir, Pohnpei—Today Jonesper Isaac stood before the FSM Supreme Court and pled guilty for two trespassing charges after he admitted breaking into offices at the FSM National Government complex in Palikir.

On the morning of March 17, 2017, employees of the Department of Health arrived for work to find that some of the office had been ransacked and some items were missing from the office.  National Police responded.  They found that window louvers had been removed from the second floor office windows. 

Dusting the louvers for fingerprints they found that 10 of the prints matched fingerprints on file for Isaac.

One of the investigating officers said in his statement that the mode of entry was similar to another burglary of the offices of the Department of Resources and Development in February of 2016.

Two officers confronted Isaac in his home in Palikir on March 17.  According to the court documents, Isaac freely admitted that not only had he broken into the Department of Health in the very early morning hours of that day, but he had also broken into the Department of Resources and Development in 2016.  He showed the officers the items he had taken from the Department of health which included coffee, powdered creamer, earphones, a laptop, a small yellow towel, hand sanitizers, and a few other items.  He told them that had taken them so that he could buy alcohol and food because he didn’t have a job.

The officers who arrested Isaac said that he smelled of alcohol at the time of their interview.

On March 18, 2017 the FSM Department of Justice filed eight charges against Isaac, four for each break-in.  The charges were Trespass, Criminal Mischief, Theft, and Unauthorized Possession or Removal of Property.

On February 20, 2018, the Department of Justice filed a proposed plea agreement at the FSM Supreme Court that had been signed by Isaac and his attorney in agreement.  In the plea agreement, Department of Justice agreed that at the sentencing phase of the case they would move to dismiss counts three through eight.  During today’s hearing the court agreed to dismiss those charges.

The government and defendant recommend that for each of the charges the defendant be imprisoned for not more than one year.  The government and defendant recommend that the Defendant’s term of imprisonment be suspended except for thirty days to be served in jail on the weekends.  The sentences for the two charges would run concurrently, and Isaac would receive credit for time served.

Isaac’s passport would be retained by the court and the terms of agreement would not allow him to travel outside of Pohnpei without Department of Justice approval or Court approval if the DOJ does not approve.  He cannot change his name for the purposes of applying for a new passport.  He will not be allowed to consume alcohol or sakau.

The Court is not required to accept the plea agreement but Isaac has agreed that if the court does not agree to accept one or more of the recommendations he won’t be able to withdraw his guilty plea.

If Isaac violates the terms of the agreement, he has said that he understands that the Department of Justice will seek release from the Court for any or all of its agreements under the Plea Agreement.  If that is granted the government could prosecute Isaac for all of the original charges.

Isaac entered his guilty plea today.  Sentencing will be at a future date.