Gabe Watson, the man accused of drowning his wife while scuba diving on their honeymoon, wept Wednesday when prosecutors played an interview of him talking about his new bride's death.
The 34-year-old Alabama resident says his wife, Tina Thomas Watson, panicked and accidentally drowned in Australia in Oct. 2003. He cried while listening to an interview with Australian investigators in which he recalled learning that the 26-year-old woman perished.
The Alabama attorney general's office alleges that Watson turned off Tina's air supply and restrained her as she struggled underwater, in a ploy to collect her life-insurance payout.
Watson told police that early in the couple's dive with a group, they ran into trouble. The current was strong, Watson said, and Tina struggled to swim against it. She panicked and supposedly dislodged his mask. When he recovered, he says he couldn't reach her.
"She was out of arm's reach," he said in the police interview, according to media reports. "I couldn't grab her hand."
Watson's attorney handed him tissues to dab his eyes at the emotional climax of the day's proceedings, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation says.
The first-degree murder trial opened this week in Watson's homestate. He already served 18 months in Australian prison on a manslaughter charge. Watson, who has remarried, faces life behind bars if found guilty.
Tina was a novice scuba diver, but Watson was experienced. Prosecutors showed on Wednesday that Watson had been certified as an open water scuba diver, an advanced diver, rescue diver and specialty diver, ABC News says.
But when he says his wife was out of his reach, Watson told Australian police that he swam to the surface to get help.
Australian investigator Kevin Gehringer was the first witness on the stand, The Birmingham News reports. He testified that Watson became agitated on more than one occasion when police told him he could not have his dive computer back. A dive computer is a wristwatch-sized device that records air-pressure, oxygen use and other data from a dive, the newspaper said.
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