Well he is back in the USA and despite desperate pleas from the prosecutors in his home state, he has been given bail on only a $100 000 USD…Quite a surprise to me, but good for the defence
LOUD applause erupted in an Alabama courtroom today when a judge granted bail to honeymoon killer Gabe Watson, who slipped out a back door after the hearing.
A judge in the Jefferson County criminal court granted Watson bail of $US100,000 before he is due to face a capital murder charge over the death of his wife Tina in 2003.
Several hours after the ruling Watson walked free from custody for the first time in more than 18 months, leaving through a back door to avoid waiting media.
The 33-year-old American from Alabama has already served an 18-month jail term in Queensland after pleading guilty to manslaughter for negligence in not doing enough to save his late wife when they were diving off Townsville. The couple had been married for only 11 days and were on their honeymoon.
The Alabama judge, Tommy Nail, rejected the argument of prosecutor Don Valeska that the burden lay with Watson to prove his innocence. He also said that the evidence against Watson was circumstantial during an often testy bail hearing in which Judge Nail quarrelled from the bench with Mr Valeska.
Alabama prosecutors immediately sought an emergency hearing to appeal bail, which is unlikely to be heard until at least next.
When Alabama prosecutors lost their battle for no bail, they argued that the figure should be set at $US2 million, while Watson’s lawyer Brett Bloomston asked for bail of $US50,000.
Judge Nail settled on $US100,000 bail and required that Watson wear an electric monitor and observe curfew inside his home in the suburb of Hoover between the hours of 7pm and 6am. The judge allowed Watson to continue working in his job as a salesman in his father’s company, but ordered that he not travel outside the state of Alabama and should surrender his passport.
Watson was ordered not to have any contact with Tina Watson’s family and not visit her gravesite.
Alabama prosecutors had argued that Watson was ill-disposed to the family of Tina Watson, after reports that he had used bolt cutters to remove flowers chained to her grave and had also ordered her grave, at one point, to be moved to another place in the cemetery.
Judge Nail heard argument from Watson’s lawyer Mr Bloomston that his client was not a flight risk and had remained in Alabama doing his job and living a normal life despite knowing that a possible murder charge was pending.
Mr Bloomston said that Watson had voluntarily returned to Queensland two years ago to face a murder charge that was later reduced when Watson pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
He was released from a Brisbane jail last month after serving his sentence for manslaughter. His deportation back to the United States to face a capital murder charge in Alabama was delayed because of political difficulties over securing an assurance from US authorities that he would not face the death penalty if convicted of murder in Alabama.
The prosecution in Alabama claims that Watson had a plan to murder his wife on their honeymoon.
He faces an arraignment hearing on January 31.