Watson murder trial adjourned

Published 3:08 pm Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Hoover man charged with murdering his wife during their 2003 honeymoon failed to appear in an Australian court Tuesday.

Gabe Watson, 31, remained in Alabama while his defense attorney, Rohan Armstrong, requested an adjournment, according to the Townsville Bulletin, an Australian newspaper. Prosecutors also requested a delay. Justice Keiran Cullinane granted both requests, and said court proceedings will resume at a later date.

Watson, and his wife, Christina, married on Oct. 11, 2003. Eleven days after the wedding, the newlyweds were on a scuba diving expedition near the Great Barrier Reef when Christina drowned. An Australian coroner ruled last June that Watson should stand trial for his wife’s murder.

Last December, Cullinane ordered Watson to appear in court or face arrest and extradition to Australia. According to the Bulletin, the adjournment came as a shock to those who expected a new arrest warrant for Watson’s absence.

If a new warrant is issued, Australian authorities will forward the warrant paperwork through INTERPOL, the world’s largest international police organization, to the U.S. Department of Justice. From the justice department, the papers will go to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Birmingham. Helena Police, with assistance from U.S. Marshals, will then arrest Watson and extradite him to Australia.