David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

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Normal David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

Post by Guest on Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:04 am

This article is from 2009, but gives some background on this case that was recently featured on Nancy Grace. He is now on trial in Alabama (where they were married). It definitely sounds like he murdered his wife, but tried to make it look accidental!


A husband who killed his wife on a diving expedition during their honeymoon on Australia's Great Barrier Reef could be free in a year.
David Watson, 32, admitted manslaughter and was jailed for four-and-a-half years in Brisbane, but the majority of his sentence will be suspended.
The family of his 26-year- old wife, Christina, said they were in 'disbelief' at the 'total injustice'.

During a dive, Watson allegedly pulled his wife's oxygen tube free and held on to her until she lost consciousness. He then let her body float down to the sea bed.
He had been due to stand trial for murder, but the prosecution accepted his plea of guilty to manslaughter for not giving Christina emergency oxygen.
Watson was to stand trial in the Queensland Supreme Court for murder, which carried a potential sentence of life in prison, until the prosecution accepted the guilty plea to the lesser charge.

Prosecutor Brendan Campbell told the court the manslaughter plea was accepted on the basis that the 32-year-old Watson - trained to rescue panicked divers - failed in his duty as her dive buddy by not giving her emergency oxygen.
Campbell said Watson allowed his wife to sink to the ocean floor without attempting to retrieve her, and he did not inflate her buoyancy vest or remove weights from her belt.
'He virtually extinguished any chance of her survival,' Campbell said.
Outside court, Christina's father, Tommy Thomas, said his family was in disbelief over the sentence.
'I'm sure that the entire Australian nation as well as our country back home shares in the shock at what we've just seen, because it's a total injustice ... it's ludicrous,' Thomas said.

'It's an embarrassment to everyone involved. We believe that Watson murdered our daughter.'
'We can't believe how low the sentence is - and we're also in disbelief that the initial murder charge was downgraded to manslaughter.'

Watson married Christina in a ceremony described by her friends as her dream wedding in Birmingham on October 11, 2003.
David Watson, admitted killing his new 26-year-old wife Christina during a dive in Australia's Great Barrier Reef
Eleven days later, a dive instructor found her lying on the bottom of the ocean during a week-long Great Barrier Reef scuba diving trip off the coast of Townsville city.
By an extraordinary chance, her body, lying face up on the ocean bottom, was inadvertently photographed by another diver who was taking an underwater picture of a friend. A third diver, swimming to Tina's help - in vain - was also caught on the camera.

Watson told police her death was an accident.
Coroner David Glasgow formally charged Watson with murder last June. Glasgow said it was likely Watson killed his wife by holding her underwater and turning off her air supply. The coroner said a possible motive was her modest life insurance policy.
Watson turned himself in last month to answer the murder charge in the northeastern city of Brisbane.
An experienced diver who has since remarried, Watson had said in videotaped police interviews that 26-year-old Christina, a novice diver, started having trouble a few minutes into their dive.
He said he decided to go for help rather than attempt a rescue himself. One of the dive leaders pulled the woman to the surface, but efforts to resuscitate her failed.
A fellow diver told Glasgow's inquest last year he saw Watson engaged in an underwater 'bear hug' with his petite wife, after which he headed to the surface while she sank to the ocean floor.
Watson told police his wife knocked his mask off and then sank too quickly for him to retrieve her. But the prosecution rejected his explanation, saying it would not have been possible for her to sink rapidly.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1191035/Husband-admits-manslaughter-bride-Tina-Watson-drowned-honeymoon-scuba-dive.html
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Normal Re: David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

Post by Guest on Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:09 am



The body of Christina (Tina) Watson lying on the ocean floor.
"By an extraordinary chance, her body, lying face up on the ocean bottom, was inadvertently photographed by another diver who was taking an underwater picture of a friend. A third diver, swimming to Tina's help - in vain - was also caught on the camera."


Last edited by Rainbow on Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Normal Re: David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

Post by Guest on Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:11 am

As Gabe Watson sits in a Los Angeles jail cell, his US legal team has gone on the offensive, dismissing prosecution allegations he murdered his wife Tina on a Queensland honeymoon dive trip for insurance money.

'It is absolutely ludicrous,' Watson's Alabama-based lawyer Brett Bloomston told US TV show Good Morning America on Friday.

'Why would anyone travel halfway across the world and take their young bride of 11 days scuba diving to kill her in front of 60 other divers in water that has 100-foot (30-metre) visibility for a measly sum of life insurance that he wasn't even the beneficiary?

'She had a small policy at her place of employment that her father was the beneficiary of.'

Don Valeska, head of Alabama's Attorney-General's violent crime division, however told AAP Watson hoped to pocket about $US200,000 ($A203,811) from two of Tina's insurance policies.
Watson was deported from Australia and arrested minutes after his Qantas flight arrived at Los Angeles international airport on Thursday morning.

Alabama has charged Watson with two murder counts relating to Tina: capital murder in the course of kidnapping; and capital murder for pecuniary gain.

Watson, a 33-year-old Alabama native who pleaded guilty in Queensland to the manslaughter of Tina following her 2003 dive death and served 18 months' jail, is expected to remain in custody in LA until he appears in court on Monday where a judge is expected to approve his extradition from California to Alabama.

Mr Bloomston said Watson's new wife Kim Lewis, an Alabama school teacher, is being strong in the face of the Alabama murder charges.

'His new wife is very stoic,' the lawyer said.

'She's a very sweet girl.

'She is a school teacher here in Birmingham and she is standing by Gabe and standing beside him through this.'

There were some fears in Australia that Alabama prosecutors would not follow through with their word and attempt to seek the death penalty for Watson if he is convicted, but Mr Bloomston said he's comfortable that death is not a sentencing option.

'I do believe the death penalty is now off the table and frankly I could never foresee one of our Alabama judges putting Gabe to death for his limited involvement in this tragic, tragic accident,' Mr Bloomston said.

Watson is being held in a cell at the Los Angeles Police Department's 77th Street station. It is a facility located in an area rife with Bloods, Crips and other violent gangs, including the Mexican Mafia.

http://www.skynews.com.au/topstories/article.aspx?id=544438&vId=

I wouldn't call $200, 000 a "measly sum"... people have killed for a lot less!!



Last edited by Rainbow on Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Normal Re: David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

Post by Guest on Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:35 pm

Rainbow I have followed this story to. In the underwater video that was accidently filmed you could actually see him disengage her oxygen. I am livid he got off so easy. Can you imagine how angry her Parents are? And he sure did remarry quickly. Wow. That part I did not know. Thank you for posting this.
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Normal Re: David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

Post by raine1953 on Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:11 pm

LM, I saw that underwater video too! It's mind blowing that the video was accidently shot but it does show him disengaging that tank and holding her too. I would think that evidence should speak for itself.
I really feel for her parents, this happened in 2003, here it is 2010 and there's been no justice, yet. I sure hope there will be justice.
Does anyone know when he remarried?
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Normal Re: David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

Post by Guest on Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:21 pm

I am so glad to hear I am not the only one that saw that video. I will have to see if I can find it. It will blow your mind. It is clear as day what he did.
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Normal Re: David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

Post by Guest on Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:16 am

LM & Raine, glad to see you have also been following this story! I think I saw that video awhile ago, but can't quite remember the details. I hope one of you can find it & post it!

As for his new wife:
"Mr Bloomston said Watson's new wife Kim Lewis, an Alabama school teacher, is being strong in the face of the Alabama murder charges.

'His new wife is very stoic,' the lawyer said.

'She's a very sweet girl.

'She is a school teacher here in Birmingham and she is standing by Gabe and standing beside him through this." (taken from my above post)

It doesn't say when they married, but he recently got out of prison in Australia, so it must have been before that? I'm not sure, but it's amazing that she's still alive!!
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Normal Re: David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

Post by janie on Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:45 pm

Thanks for posting this story Rainbow! I remember watching a episode on Dateline about this case. I was shocked that he was only charged with manslaughter and not murder. Watson married Kim Lewis Aug. 15, 2008. I haven't seen a picture of her but reporters have described her as a Tina Watson lookalike.
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Normal The Eight-Year Mystery Of What Happened To Tina Watson While Scuba Diving May Soon Be Solved As Her Husband Of 11 Days Stands Trial For Her Murder

Post by NiteSpinR on Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:25 pm

February 13, 2012

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Tina's husband of just 11 days, Gabe Watson, will stand trial in a court in Birmingham, Alabama, for her murder.

“We are ready for trial,'' Don Valeska, head of the Alabama Attorney-General's violent crime unit and lead prosecutor on the Watson case, told AAP.

The trial will begin with Mr Valeska and Mr Watson's three-man legal team of Brett Bloomston, Joe Basgier and Mike Hanle debating a number of motions before judge Tommy Nail.

They will then whittle down a jury pool of 70 to the 12 who will decide Watson's fate.

Two opposing theories have been floated in the lead-up to the trial, which could last up to a month.

Did Watson, as the prosecution has alleged, devise a despicable plan to marry Tina in their home state of Alabama, take her halfway around the world to Queensland for their honeymoon and murder her with an underwater bear hug to claim insurance money?

Or is Watson, as his defence team has argued, just a “bad dive buddy'' who has already been punished by the Queensland court system after pleading guilty to Tina's manslaughter in a Brisbane court and being sentenced to 18 months' jail.

“It is a very distasteful situation when someone goes and takes responsibility for their actions in another country, serves his time and now he comes back to his home state facing nothing more than a lynch mob from the attorney-general's office,'' Mr Bloomston told US TV talkshow Good Morning America.

A large contingent of Australian witnesses have been flown in to Alabama to testify, including Queensland police, divers and crew members of the Spoilsport, the dive vessel that took the newlyweds to the Yolonga shipwreck, 40 nautical miles southeast of Townsville, on October 22, 2003.

Mr Watson's 2009 manslaughter plea deal with Queensland prosecutors, in which he agreed he did not inflict intentional harm to his 26-year-old wife, outraged Tina's family and the then Alabama attorney-general Troy King.

A Birmingham grand jury charged Mr Watson in October 2010 with murder for pecuniary gain and kidnapping.

If convicted, Mr Watson, 34, faces life in prison.

“This is not about me,'' Tina's father, Tommy Thomas, said after the grand jury decision.

“This is about my daughter Tina and the fact we wanted to, from the very beginning, just know the truth about what happened to her and get justice for whatever reason may have caused her death.''

The truth, after more twist and turns than a Hollywood thriller, will be decided by 12 anonymous jurors.


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Normal Re: David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

Post by NiteSpinR on Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:31 pm

Person posing for photo in the foreground of the picture rises to the surface as another diver descends to the motionless body of Tina lying on the ocean's floor.
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Have read that this photo do not include Gabe Watson.


Last edited by NiteSpinR on Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:33 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Normal Re: David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

Post by Lilone on Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:01 am

Doesn't this go to trial this morning?
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Normal Re: David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

Post by Wrapitup on Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:04 pm

Gabe Watson trial in Australian honeymoon death set to begin Monday

Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012, 2:15 PM Updated: Sunday, February 12, 2012, 2:23 PM
By Eric Velasco -- The Birmingham News

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- The long-awaited state capital murder trial of Gabe Watson in the 2003 Australian honeymoon drowning of his wife is set to begin Monday in Birmingham.

The trial will mark the second time the Hoover man has been prosecuted in the death of his bride of 11 days, Tina Thomas Watson, while diving near a shipwreck inside the Great Barrier Reef.

Watson, who turns 35 next month, was charged with murder in Australia. He pleaded guilty in 2009 to the lesser charge of manslaughter and served 18 months before his release from an Australian prison in late 2010.
Prosecutors in the office of then-Attorney General Troy King, who joined the Thomas family as vocal critics of the way the Australian case was handled, obtained a two-count capital murder indictment against Watson in Jefferson County just before he was freed from prison.
The defense team, Brett Bloomston, Joe Basgier and Mike Hanle, contends the attorney general's office is engaged in a vendetta by prosecuting Watson in Alabama.

Circuit Judge Tommy Nail last year denied a defense request to dismiss the case on that ground.

A capital conviction would carry an automatic sentence of life without parole. State prosecutors had to agree not to seek the death penalty before Australian officials would extradite Watson.

The Alabama prosecution is not double jeopardy, being tried twice for the same crime, if the charge is different from the one Watson faced in Australia and the state can prove elements of the crime took place in Alabama.

The prosecution team, led by Deputy Attorney General Don Valeska, contends the defendant intentionally killed his wife as part of a transcontinental murder plot he hatched in Hoover.

To prove a special circumstance that would make murder a capital crime, prosecutors also must convince jurors he killed for monetary gain in Alabama or during a kidnapping from the state.

Prosecutors say Watson wanted to profit from his wife's life insurance and he used the honeymoon as a pretense in his murder scheme, effectively kidnapping her by luring her to her death.

The defense will argue Tina's death was not intentional, as Australian judges found when he pleaded guilty there to a charge he was negligent by failing in his duties as her dive buddy.

The defense also will say Tina's father was the life-insurance beneficiary and she was active in planning the honeymoon, not a kidnap victim.

Alabama has no jurisdiction to prosecute Watson, the defense has argued in a motion. Nail said he would decide on that motion after hearing the state's evidence.
The Birmingham trial originally was set for May 2011, but was postponed until Monday because cuts in state and county funding last spring had left the courts with a shortage of bailiffs.

The trial is expected to run three to four weeks. Final pretrial motions, including prosecutors' attempt to quash a defense subpoena for King to testify, will be taken up by Nail Monday morning.

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Normal Re: David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

Post by NiteSpinR on Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:41 pm

I've been unable to find the actual video of what happened between Gabe and Tina while scuba diving. I'm not certain there actually was a video taken only eye witness accounts from other divers who were in the water with them.
The video below depicts a reenactment of what those divers witnessed that day.
It starts at about 43 seconds into the video and don't blink because it's very brief.



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Normal Shocking Announcement On The First Day Of Trial As Prosecutors Withdraw One Of The Two Murder Counts Against Watson

Post by NiteSpinR on Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:11 am

February 14, 2012

For more than eight years, Tommy Thomas fought in Australia and the US for a jury to decide if his daughter, Tina, was murdered on her honeymoon while scuba diving off the Queensland coast.

On Monday Mr Thomas' wish was granted in his home state of Alabama but victory was bittersweet.

In a courtroom in Birmingham, Alabama, Tina's husband of just 11 days, Gabe Watson, and his five-member legal team, went head-to-head with prosecutors in attempting to select 12 jurors from a pool of 69 to decide if Watson murdered Tina.

Mr Thomas fought back tears at the end of the first day of proceedings as he spoke about how, in an ironic twist, Tina would have celebrated her 35th birthday on Monday.
"This has been a very emotional day for us as you can imagine as 35 years ago today at 1.32am Tina was born," he told reporters.


The trial is expected to take anywhere from a fortnight to a month, and just as the aftermath of Tina's death has had plenty of twists and turns, the first day of the trial started with the shock announcement prosecutors would withdraw one of the two murder counts against Watson.

Prosecutor Don Valeska asked for the charge of capital murder in the course of kidnapping to be dropped.

The count alleged Watson created a scheme to trick his bride to go to Australia on their 2003 honeymoon with the intention of murdering her.

Watson, 34, still faces a capital murder for pecuniary gain charge, with allegations he hoped to profit by cashing in his bride's insurance policies.

If convicted, Watson faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

"I was not surprised," one of Watson's lawyers, Joe Basgier, told AAP of the prosecution move to drop the charge.

"There was no evidence. They didn't have a choice."

Mr Valeska said the eleventh hour decision was strategic.

"It is just a strategic move to simplify the case," he said.

Mr Thomas supported the decision, adding: "We know we have a very strong case."

The defence and prosecution spent a little over three hours questioning the 69 potential jurors, which included three lawyers, an experienced diver, a volunteer firefighter, unemployed, a bartender and victims of violent crime.

"This is not a TV show," Mr Basgier told them.

"This is real life. This is not CSI."

The questions jurors fielded included: were they aware of the case from media reports; did they personally know Gabe Watson, his parents, Tina or Watson's new wife Kim Watson; did they understand what "beyond reasonable doubt meant"; have they had a bad experience with a police officer; have they ever felt panicked; have they taken out travel insurance; and have they scuba dived.

Just 11 of the 69 said they were unaware of the high-profile case.

The 58 jurors who knew about the case were then asked if they had a "fixed opinion" on Watson's guilt or innocence.

"I feel like he has been tried already in another country," said one potential male juror, referring to Watson's 2009 guilty plea to manslaughter for Tina's death in a Queensland court and 18-month jail sentence.

The juror then told Judge Tommy Nail he did not have a fixed opinion on Watson's guilt or innocence.

A female potential juror said after following media reports she felt Watson was guilty.

"From everything on TV and what I have read, I feel he is guilty," the woman told Judge Nail.

"I think because he took out life insurance beforehand ..."

At that point Judge Nail cut her off.

The judge ended the day's proceedings without any juror being dismissed and the selection process will continue on Tuesday.

Mr Thomas, who was distraught when Queensland prosecutors struck a plea deal with Watson in 2009 for the manslaughter guilty plea that avoided a trial, said he looked forward to watching the trial unfold.

But dealing with the emotions of his daughter's birthday would be heartbreaking, particularly for his wife Cindy, who had a special bond with Tina.

On every birthday when the clock ticked to 1.32am, Cindy would go to her daughter's bedroom, "crawl into bed with Tina, wake her up, kiss her and wish her a happy birthday".

"When Tina was 19 she was away from home in college and Cindy would call her and her roommate at the dorm to wish her a happy birthday (at 1.32am)," Mr Thomas said.

"That's something for the last nine birthdays she hasn't been able to do and it has been very hard for her."


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Normal Re: David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:05 am

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Normal Accused Weeps

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:24 am

February 16, 2012

As Gabe Watson struggled to save his wife during their fateful Queensland dive he thought other divers in the vicinity would think "something odd was going on", Watson told Townsville detectives.

Watson made the comment during a taped interview with police on October 27, 2003, five days after Tina Thomas died on the scuba dive.

The police interview was played to the jury on the third day of Watson's murder trial in Birmingham, Alabama.

Watson said that during the struggle he was breathing heavily and was attempting to activate his wife's buoyancy control vest.

"In the back of my mind I was thinking these people could see us, or at least think something odd was going on," Watson told police.

It was an emotional day in court for Watson.

He wept in court as he listened to a portion of the police interview where he recalled the moment he was told attempts to resuscitate his wife failed.

"I pretty much lost it," Watson told Townsville detectives.

Defence lawyer Brett Bloomston handed Watson a box of tissues and patted him on the shoulder.


Watson and Ms Thomas married in their home state of Alabama just 11 days before her October 22, 2003, death.

The newlyweds were in Australia on their honeymoon and were on the first day of a seven-day diving trip off the coast of Queensland when she died.

Watson told police "five to seven minutes" into their dive over the SS Yongala shipwreck they struggled against a strong current, Ms Thomas got into difficulty and at one point struck his mask and air regulator.

He said he thought he kicked Tina with his fin to get some space from her and she floated away from him.

"She was out of arm's reach," Watson said in the police interview.

"I couldn't grab her hand."

He swam down to get her but she was sinking just as fast, Watson told police.

He decided against chasing her to the seabed and instead went to the surface.

"I have never swam so fast in my life," he told police.

He said he encountered two other divers in his ascent.

"I remember shouting through my regulator 'Tina, Tina, Tina'," Watson told police.

Earlier on Wednesday, Townsville detective senior constable Kevin Gehringer, who conducted two taped interviews with Watson, testified from the witness box. He said that on the day Ms Thomas died, Watson became agitated when told police could not give him back his dive computer. "At that stage he became a little agitated about not getting it that night," Senior Constable Gehringer told the Jefferson County court.

When Watson asked for his dive computer a second time "again he became somewhat agitated", the detective said.

The dive computer, which Watson wore on his wrist while diving the Yongala with Tina, was held by police to assist with their investigation.

Watson, 34, is accused of murdering Tina for pecuniary gain.

Prosecutors allege Watson planned the murder in Alabama before he flew with his bride to Australia.

Watson has already served an 18 month jail sentence in Queensland after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of his 26-year-old bride.

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Normal Thursday Judge Tommy Nail ABRUPTLT DISMISSED MURDER CASE AGAINST GABE WATSON

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:14 pm

February 23, 2012

An Alabama judge on Thursday abruptly dismissed the murder case against a man accused in the scuba-diving death of his newlywed wife off Australia's coast.

The decision from Judge Tommy Nail came near the end of the second full week of David Gabriel "Gabe" Watson's trial in Birmingham.

According to Ken Glass, the judge's judicial assistant, Nail dismissed the case "after the state rested its case against Gabe Watson (and) the defense filed a motion for a judgment of acquittal due to a lack of evidence."

"I'm going to grant the defendant's motion for acquittal. This case is dismissed," Nail said, prompting an outburst of applause in the courtroom.

Afterward, a visibly emotional Watson put his face in his hands, then began hugging people around the room.

His 26-year-old wife, Tina, died October 22, 2003, while the pair were diving at a historic shipwreck off the Great Barrier Reef -- some 9,000 miles from Birmingham, where the two had wed 11 days earlier.

His father, David Watson, called the entire situation "terrible, it's tragic," while expressing satisfaction with the judge's decision.

"I'm just thrilled for Gabe, and I just hope everybody can begin to heal, get their lives back together," said David Watson, calling his son a "good kid."

Prosecutor Don Valeska said "this case is over forever," since there is no appeal possible.

"I strongly disagree with him," Valeska said of Nail. "I'm just extremely stunned, and I'm at a loss for words."

Amanda Phillips, a friend of Tina Watson, said outside the court that she wanted the jury to decide the case and feels that the "only justice that comes is the one that God provides, and we will never be there for that day."

"(Watson) knows everything that happened, he knows how it went down, he knows what was involved, he knows what the intent was, he knows what the feelings were, the motives were," she said. "He doesn't need to have a jury tell him what happened."

After his wife's death, Watson returned from Australia -- where media dubbed him "The Honeymoon Killer" -- to the United States and remarried five years later.

That same year, in 2008, he pleaded guilty in Australia to criminally negligent manslaughter and subsequently served 18 months in prison in that country.

In October 2010, an Alabama grand jury indicted Watson on two counts -- murder for pecuniary gain and kidnapping where a felony occurred. Those charges were based on the premise that Watson hatched the plot to kill his wife while in Alabama.

The doctrine of double jeopardy -- which says that a person cannot be tried or punished twice for the same crime -- did not apply because two separate sovereigns, a state government and a foreign government, were seeking to prosecute, said John Lentine, a Birmingham criminal defense attorney and law school professor.

After his sentence was complete, the Australian government held Watson for a short time in immigration detention in light of its policy of not extraditing anyone who might face the death penalty.

Australian authorities deported him back to the United States after getting assurance from U.S. authorities that "the death penalty would not be sought, imposed or carried out," said Sandi Logan, a spokesman for the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Watson was then arrested, in November 2010, in Los Angeles.

In the opening arguments of Watson's U.S. trial earlier this month, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Arrington told jurors that Watson had changed his story on what happened several times. The prosecution also alleged that Watson had expected to gain about $210,000 in insurance and death benefits due to his new wife's death.

"This whole case ... is about murder and gain," Arrington said.

But defense attorney Brett Bloomston said that Tina's father was the beneficiary on her workplace insurance policy. Watson filed for some expenses from a travel policy, but it was denied on a technicality, Bloomston said. His client did sue an insurance company when it denied him an accidental death benefit, the attorney said.

"Gabe never stood to gain anything from Tina's death; he lost," said Bloomston.

The defense argued that Tina Watson was wearing too much weight with her suit when she died, and that a strong current, her relative diving inexperience and a pattern of anxiety during dives were contributing factors.

During the trial, Judge Nail spelled out what he believed were the basics of the prosecution's case -- that Gabe Watson had schemed in Alabama to kill his new wife.

"The defendant buys an engagement ring. He gives it to his future bride. He marries her. He plans a trip halfway around the world that's paid for by him or his family," Nail said. "And he did all of that, and planned it all here, so he could go over there and kill her so he could get the same engagement ring he purchased?"

After Thursday's decision, Bloomston called the entire ordeal a "nightmare for Gabe and his family (and) a nightmare for Tina and her family."

"We all wanted justice, we all wanted the court to hear what little information was presented, and the judge determined that it wasn't enough," the lawyer told reporters outside the court. "We're just very, very happy that Gabe can get some closure and move on, start his life over."


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Normal Re: David (Gabe) Watson, convicted in Australia of manslaughter in the death of his wife, Christina (Tina) Watson now to stand trial in Alabama

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:18 pm

Judge's actions to dismiss the case before it went before the jury after repeatedly not allowing evidence is unheard of! Body language expert on JVM states that the Judge dismissed the case because he was bored and calls for his removal from the bench.

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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:07 am

WOW!!!!!!!!!

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