Former Yona mayor may still be released for health reasons

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Former Yona mayor Jesse Blas has been incarcerated since his Sept. 24 arrest on federal extortion-related drug charges.

No promises, but District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood says in light of the health and legal concerns raised by former Yona mayor Jesse Blas, she is now considering releasing him from federal custody.

The federal extortion charges against the former mayor is not a violent crime and with the assertions that his health is at risk by his continued detainment at DOC’s Hagatna detention facility, the Chief Judge is reconsidering her order issued yesterday which denied his motion for temporary release.

But a decision won’t be made until next week, providing the Department of Corrections, legal counsels and the US Marshals to vet Blas’s medical conditions and claim that he isn’t receiving the treatment needed.

“If it is true, then we have a problem,” stated Chief Judge Tydingco-Gatewood who is concerned for Blas’ health and safety.

The Chief Judge says she is not making any assumptions at this time on the truthfulness of the statements.

“I don’t want to do it. I already said no. But I don’t want to leave him in the facility if he is going to die there. I don’t want to do that,” the chief judge said.

Blas was instructed to try and get a reputable third-party custodian in case she considers one.

As for Blas’ concerns over the lack of an attorney/client room at HDF, the Chief Judge is trying to utilize CARES Act Funding to outfit a room for lawyers to confer with their clients.

“If anything good comes out of this hearing, that will be one of the goods things that will be top priority,” Tydingco-Gatewood said.

A hearing has been set for next Tuesday.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.