Testimony continued in the sixth day of the "honeymoon death trial" in which Gabe Watson is accused of killing his wife Tina while on a dive in Australia. Prosecutors contend that Watson killed his wife to cash in on her life insurance, while the defense maintains that the dive company is responsible for Tina's death.
On the stand this morning was Wade Singleton. He was the trip director that the Watsons were on at the time of Tina's death and he also rescued Tina. Today defense attorneys placed blame for Tina's death on Singleton and the trip company that he worked for in 2003, Mike Ball Dive Expeditions.
Because Tina was a novice diver, many questions remained as to why she did not participate in an orientation dive the morning of the day of her death. According to Singleton Tina had told him she would do it, but when it the time came to take the orientation dive, she declined while standing with her husband Gabe.
Singleton admitted on the stand that he should have asked about the dive while Tina was alone so her partner couldn't influence her answer. By not doing so, Singleton violated his company's policy.
He was also supposed to complete a form for his company saying that Tina didn't have the skills to do that dive that day, but he also failed to do that.
Mike Ball Dive Expeditions was ultimately fined $10,000 for the violations of policy. They were fined by an agency that is the Australian equivalent of OSHA in the US.
Late Tuesday afternoon defense attorneys told reporters they believe that not only the Mike Ball Dive Expeditions, but Wade Singleton himself is to blame for Tina's death, not Gabe Watson.
Dr. David Williams, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy on Tina Watson, also took the stand today. He testified that he believes she had circulation in her system while she was on the bottom of the ocean floor. He also said that his ultimate cause of death was drowning. He could not say how that happened based on the autopsy.
Jurors then heard from Samuel Shelton, the funeral director for Southern Heritage Cemetery in Pelham. He testified that a couple of days before the funeral Gabe told him that everything on Tina would remain in the casket. But Shelton said on the day of the funeral, while he and Gabe stood at the casket, Gabe asked him to take of Tina's engagement ring and put her wedding band back on.
Prosecutors claim that Watson killed his wife in order to get his hands on some of her personal items, like her ring, as well as her insurance money so this was significant testimony.
After Shelton finished his testimony, Alanda Thomas, Tina's younger sister, took the stand. Thomas said she learned about Tina's death when she arrived to her work. Later her family waited to hear from Gabe, but she said they never did. The Thomas family then contacted the US Consulate in Australia and consular employees contacted Gabe for the family.
Thomas said that she, her mother and her father were all on the same phone conversation with Gabe when he described what happened to Tina. Thomas said Gabe said that they went down for their dive, and a few minutes later Tina motioned she wanted to go back up. Thomas said Gabe told the three of them that he grabbed her hand and they started swimming back. At some point Gabe said Tina knocked off his mask, he had to let go of her to get it back on, and by the time he did so Tina was sinking, her hands outstretched. Thomas said that Gabe told them that Tina was looking at him and blinked so he knew she was alive.
But he told them that Tina was sinking so quickly that he decided it was better for him to go to the surface for help. Thomas said Gabe told them that he swam quickly to the surface as he ripped off his equipment.
Thomas said her mother then told him it was okay, that Tina knew he was going for help. Thomas said her mother then asked Gabe if he was with Tina when she died and he promised that he was with her the whole time and that he never left her.
That statement from Thomas is a direct contradiction to at least six witnesses who already testified that Watson was not on the boat where others were trying to resuscitate Tina. Gabe himself told police shortly after Tina died that he wasn't with her and that he was on another nearby boat.
During Thomas' testimony, Circuit Tommy Nail and prosecutors got into a heated discussion. Several times, Nail reprimanded lawyers when they objected to his ruling and even pounded the stand to get his point across.
"If y'all can't accept my ruling you know where Montgomery is; take off," Judge Nail told prosecutors at one point.
Afterwards, prosecutor Don Valeska felt that the judge was testing him.
"It was Judge Nail…I have no quarrel with anything he said or anything he's ruled on. He knew what he was saying. He was just testing me on the rules."
There will be no testimony Wednesday but stay tuned to MyFoxAl.com when the trial resumes Thursday.
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