Tuesday, January 4, 2011

'Honeymoon killer' Gabe Watson to be deported to US

Christina Watson's body lies on the sea bed (right) as an unidentified diver poses for the photo (center) and a dive leader (left) hurries to Watson Photo: AP

Watson was released from a jail in Queensland last week after serving 18 months for the manslaughter of Tina Thomas just 10 days after they were married in 2003.

However, instead of being handed over to US authorities, who want to try him for murder, Watson was taken to an immigration detention centre while the Australian government sought assurances that he would not face execution if found guilty.

Australian law does not allow the country to deport anyone who could face capital punishment.

An immigration spokesman said that Australian officials had received assurances from US officials that "the death penalty would not be sought, imposed or carried out."

"We are now satisfied that our international obligations have been met and are commencing plans for Mr. Watson's removal," she said.

She would not give details on the timing of his deportation but said it would be "as soon as possible." It is believed Watson, 33, could be deported within days, but his lawyer has asked for at least 48 hours notice.

Watson, a former bubblewrap salesman dubbed the "Honeymoon Killer" by the Australian media, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his wife last year. Officials in Queensland initially charged him with murder, arguing he killed Tina by turning off her air supply and holding her underwater in a "bear hug", but under a plea deal that was strongly criticised by his wife's family and the Alabama police, Watson agreed not to contest the lesser charge.

Troy King, the Alabama attorney general, claims that Watson planned to kill his wife before the newlywed couple left the US for their Australian honeymoon.

The Queensland coroner said Watson might have been motivated by his wife's modest life insurance policy.

He has since remarried.

View the original article here

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