Date set for Gabe Watson murder trial

Published 2:41 pm Thursday, July 14, 2011

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

A trial date has been set for a Hoover man accused of killing his wife during a scuba diving trip in Australia.

The trial will start Feb. 13, 2012, according to the Alabama Attorney General’s Office.

Gabe Watson pleaded not guilty Jan. 31, 2011 to charges of murdering his wife during an Australian honeymoon in 2003.

Prosecutors contend Watson murdered wife Christina “Tina” Thomas on Oct. 22, 2003, just 11 days after their wedding, while the couple was on a scuba diving expedition on the Great Barrier Reef.

Thomas was a Helena native.

Watson was charged with murder in Australia but pleaded guilty to manslaughter. While in court, Watson, a certified rescue diver, admitted he failed to fulfill his responsibilities as his wife’s dive buddy during the dive.

Watson was indicted Oct. 22, 2010 by a Jefferson County grand jury on charges of capital murder in the course of kidnapping and capital murder in the course of pecuniary gain.

After release from the Australian prison, Watson flew to Los Angeles, where he was arrested. Watson waived his extradition rights in a Nov. 30, 2010 hearing in Los Angeles.