In Alabama, honeymoon murder trial set to begin today
An Alabama man who has already served a brief prison sentence in Australia for the drowning of his bride during their 2003 honeymoon in that country is set to be tried again today in Birmingham on two fresh counts of murder.
Gabe Watson, 34, is accused of drowning his new wife, Tina Thomas Watson, by turning off her air supply during a diving excursion in Australia, according to the Associated Press. He says it was an accident. Prosecutors allege that he killed her in order to get a life insurance payout.
Watson has already served 18 months in an Australian prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter there in 2009, reported Eric Velasco of the Birmingham News. But Australian officials extradited Watson so that he could be tried in Alabama.
The family of the slain woman and Alabama's former attorney general, Troy King, were critical of the way the Australian case was handled, and pressed for Watson to be tried stateside.
Velasco reported that the prosecution will have to show that some aspects of the crime occurred in Alabama.
Watson faces a potential automatic sentence of life without parole. Australian officials only agreed to extradite him if Alabama officials promised not to seek the death penalty.
-- Richard Fausset in Atlanta
Photo: Gabe Watson listens to the proceedings during a January hearing in his case in a Jefferson County, Ala., courtroom. Credit: Bernard Troncale / Birmingham News / Associated Press