Jurors will hear more about the final moments of Tina Thomas Watson's life, just one day after a diver said he saw the 26-year-old newlywed's husband hold her underwater, shortly before she drowned to death.
Stanley Stutz, a Chicago emergency room doctor, was diving in Australia in 2003, near defendant Gabe Watson. He testified Thursday that he saw Watson clutching his new wife before she sank to the ocean floor, The Associated Press says.
Stutz told the Alabama courtroom that he saw the woman flailing in the water. Then, Watson swam over and wrapped his arms around her for about 10 to 30 seconds.
The prosecution argues that the defendant was restraining his bride, to murder her. Stutz, however, thought Watson was attempting to help the woman, who may have been unable to handle the rigorous dive.
"Then they split apart," Stutz said, according to The Courier-Mail. "After, he went to the surface. She sank."
Watson is charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors in his home state say he drowned his wife on their honeymoon to collect a life insurance payout. The defense maintains that Tina, in her first open water dive, panicked and died accidentally. He served 18 months in Australia for manslaughter.
Ken Snyder, a former Marine on the dive, testified earlier that he was furious that Watson left his wife in the water, according to The Birmingham News.
Snyder also testified that he didn't believe Watson's explanation that she slipped away from him, because she panicked and allegedly dislodged his mask.
"That's bull s**t," Snyder said he told Watson. "That didn't happen."
Other divers testified that Watson, a certified rescue diver, broke a basic scuba-diving rule that all novices know.
"You don't leave your buddy unless they're dead, or they're trapped and you can't get them loose without assistance," testified Doug Milsap, according to The Birmingham News. "But if you can retrieve your buddy, there's no excuse for leaving."
However, some of the divers testified that current was strong, perhaps supporting an earlier claim by Watson that Tina was struggling underwater.
The prosecution says Watson plotted his wife's death before they got married.
Snyder's wife, who was also on the dive, said he seemed "panic stricken" when she saw him on the boat after Tina drowned, according to The Courier Mail. Later, he looked like he was in shock.
The defense played portions of an interview between Watson and Australian investigators, The Birmingham News says. During the video clip, he occasionally became emotional. The defense hopes it will counter the prosecution's argument that he was a plotting killer.
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