Sunday, September 20, 2009

Honeymoon dive killer’s sentence increased

Tina Watson (back) in distress during the Great Barrier Reef dive she died on

From: The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney, Australia) September 20, 2009 1:09AM

Scuba killer Gabe Watson faces death sentence

-Gabe Watson killed wife Tina while diving
-Out of Australian jail next year
-US officials will seek death penalty

HONEYMOON killer Gabe Watson could face the death penalty when he is released from an Australian jail and returns to the US. Alabama Attorney General Troy King yesterday announced he would go after Watson for a capital murder, the worst category of murder in the state.

If he is convicted, Watson faces death by lethal injection or life without parole.

The 32-year-old bubble-wrap salesman has admitted to killing his new wife Tina Watson who drowned as they explored the Great Barrier Reef on their October 2003 honeymoon.

In June, he cut a deal with Queensland prosecutors and pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

He was sentenced to 4 1/2 years' jail, to be suspended after a year, in a decision that devastated Tina's family and provoked public outcry over its leniency.

Queensland Attorney General Cameron Dick appealed the sentence and the Court of Appeal on Friday ruled Watson should spend another six months in jail, which means he will be back in Alabama in December 2010.

Mr King said he was "deeply disappointed" by the outcome.

"Tina Thomas Watson and her family have been deprived by the Australian court system of the justice they deserved," Mr. King said.

Mr King had been considering hitting Watson with a murder conspiracy charge, but yesterday declared he would go for the more serious offence.

During a meeting yesterday, he ordered a team of prosecutors and investigators to compile a brief of evidence that will be presented to a grand jury for a capital murder indictment.

The presentation could happen within months.

If the 16-person panel agrees there is enough evidence to support a conviction in Alabama, he will be tried for murder. If convicted, a judge would decide whether to give him life in jail or condemn him to death.

Mr King said he hoped to give the family "what they could not get in Australia - justice".

But legal experts have expressed doubts that Watson could be retried due to double jeopardy rules.

Mr King would not say what piece of law allowed him to indict Watson in the US after his plea in Australia.

Tina's sister Alanda Thomas hoped he would stand trial.

"My sister, Tina, had her entire life taken from her by his actions and all he gets is 18 months in jail," she said.

"That is just a disgrace.

"Hopefully my sister will get her day in court and Gabe will finally stand trial for all he has done."

1 comment:

  1. So, the AG in Alabama is trying to skirt double-jeopardy rules just because Watson's first trial was not in the U.S.? The guy was tried and convicted already! Just because someone is not happy with the sentence Watson got in Australia doesn't mean you can try again to get life or death here. That's why the double-jeopardy rule exists in the Constitution! Prosecutors get just one bite at the apple. Of course, this AG might argue it's two different prosecutors taking a bite at the same apple, but it's still the same apple.


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I'm a classically trained dancer and SAB grad. A Dance Captain and go-to girl overseeing high-roller entertainment for a major casino/resort