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article imageAlabama man pleads not guilty to drowning of wife in Australia

By William Charles Baker     Feb 1, 2011 in World
A trial date has been set for the husband of a woman who died while scuba diving near a centuries old ship wreck on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Tina Watson, 26, died during the dream honeymoon and a Jefferson County judge set an early date for a Capital Murder trial for her husband Gabe, 33. Tommy Thomas the father of Tina had been seeking to have her husband prosecuted for her murder in the complex case that had Gabe imprisoned in Australia on manslaughter charges.
MercuryNews reports: “Watson served 18 months in an Australian jail after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of his wife of 11 days. Alabama authorities charged Watson with capital murder, arguing he planned her death and sought insurance proceeds in his home state. To help persuade Australian authorities to return Watson to Alabama, former Alabama attorney general Troy King agreed not to seek the death penalty.”
In Australia at the inquest Watson related that his wife began to have trouble minutes into the dive and panicked then pulled off his mask. By the time he could get his mask on again she was sinking and he went for help. A witness had a different version of events.
Newser Reports: “One of the dive leaders pulled Tina Watson to the surface, but she never regained consciousness. Prosecutors contend Watson turned off her oxygen during what a witness called a "bear hug" and then let her sink to the bottom of the sea.”
The defense claims it was a tragic accident while different reports of insurance claims remain as a motive.
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