An Alabama judge acquitted Gabe Watson who was accused of drowning his newlywed wife during a honeymoon diving trip to Australia eight years ago. The judge felt that prosecutors did not prove the man intentionally killed his wife to collect life insurance proceeds. Circuit Judge Tommy Nail issued his ruling after the prosecution rested during the two-week-long trial. Consequently, the jurors were never asked to deliberate. Prosecutor Don Valeska, seemed surprised at the directed verdict.
The 34 year-old Watson faced life in prison without parole if convicted. Tina Thomas Watson drowned in 2003. Watson served 18 months in an Australian prison after pleading guilty there to a manslaughter charge involving negligence. However, the instant case was alleging murder. Judge Nail ruled that prosecutors failed to show Watson intentionally killed his bride. The only eyewitness testified he thought Watson was trying to save the woman.