Watson deserves justice for death

Published 2:43 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Christina Watson will never again celebrate a birthday, open presents on Christmas morning or spend a Saturday afternoon watching her favorite college football team. She died on her honeymoon while celebrating her marriage to a man who would later admit to being responsible for her death.

A tragic event in October of 2003 changed a family forever. You have no doubt read about Christina “Tina” Thomas Watson’s death while on a honeymoon dive in Australia with her husband, Gabe Watson. But was the tragic event a terrible accident, murder or an act of manslaughter?

That’s where most people familiar with the case disagree with the Australian courts.

Gabe Watson was sentenced to less than five years after pleading guilty to manslaughter earlier this summer. But Watson’s sentence is to be suspended after only 12 months.

Now, an Australian Appeals Court is revisiting whether or not Watson’s sentence should be extended.

Gabe Watson, a certified rescue diver, admitted in court he failed to fulfill his responsibilities as Christina’s dive buddy. That’s where any person with any dive training must be scratching their heads.

It has been nearly two decades since I was certified as a scuba diver, but I still clearly remember one of the most basic admonishments my dive instructors shared: always stick with your dive buddy and “buddy breathe” if one of you runs out of air or somehow encounters trouble.

“Buddy breathing” is a process of passing one diver’s source of air to the other. Christina’s new husband, a certified rescue diver, was no doubt familiar with “buddy breathing,” but admitted swimming away from Christina rather than helping her.

Prosecutors earlier this month argued Watson’s sentence should reflect the seriousness of abandoning his wife. Who could argue any different?