crimesider

Alabama judge acquits Gabe Watson in wife's honeymoon scuba diving death

Gabe and Tina Watson in an undated photo
Gabe and Tina Watson in an undated photo
CBS

(CBS/AP) BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama judge on Thursday acquitted Gabe Watson, the man accused of drowning his newlywed wife during a honeymoon scuba diving trip in Australia.

Circuit Judge Tommy Nail ruled in Birmingham that prosecutors failed to present enough evidence of a crime to send the case to jurors. He ended the two-week-long trial by acquitting the 34-year-old Watson on his own.

Watson had faced a sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted of murdering his wife, Tina Thomas Watson, in 2003. He already served 18 months in an Australian prison after pleading guilty there to a manslaughter charge involving negligence.

Nail agreed with defense arguments that prosecutors failed to show Watson intentionally killed the woman. Prosecutors claimed he drowned her for insurance money, but the only eyewitness testified he thought Watson was trying to save the woman.

Complete coverage of Gabe Watson on Crimesider

The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App