Honeymoon Drowning Witness: Husband's Version 'Not Plausible'

PHOTO: In this undated photo provided by Townsville Coroners Court, Gabe Watson, left, and his then-fiancee, Tina, pose on their engagement.
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Two divers who witnessed the drowning of newlywed Tina Watson cast doubt today on her husband's story that she panicked and that her actions doomed herself.

Ken Snyder, an experienced diver who is now rated a master diver, told an Alabama court that the version of husband Gabe Watson is not "plausible."

Dr. Stanley Stutz told the court he saw her husband, Gabe Watson, swim to his wife and thought Watson was going to save her, but "then let her go."

Gabe Watson, now 36 and remarried, is on trial in Alabama on charges that he murdered his wife 11 days after their wedding while scuba diving off the coast of Australia in 2003.

Watson, dubbed the "honeymoon killer," has said his panicked wife accidentally knocked his mask off, and by the time he recovered she had sunk beyond his reach.

Snyder told the court today that it wasn't "plausible" that Watson's face mask was knocked off, and that if his wife was panicking she would not have looked serene in the water.

He also disputed Watson's claim that his wife was given too much weight to wear and that it helped drag her down. She would have known she was wearing too much weight before she got in the water, Snyder said.

Earlier, Stutz gave a chilling description of Tina Watson's death. He said he noticed her because "she was in distress, lying flat, facing up," Stutz testified. "She was just floating. I was shocked. She look like she was in a lot of trouble."

The doctor said that Tina Watson's arms and legs were moving and she wasn't thrashing, but "she didn't have enough strength to swim."

Stutz said he watched as a male diver in a black wetsuit went to Tina Watson and put his arms under her arm pits.

"I thought he was trying to save her. Then he let go and she sank," he said.

As Tina Watson drifted to the sea floor, Stutz said he saw vomit come from her mouth and he believed Tina Watson was still alive as she sank.

Watson's case appeared to be bolstered by Snyder's wife, Paula, who described Gabe Watson as "panic struck" after his wife died. She said she asked what she could do, and Watson said he could use a hug. So she hugged him.

Paula Snyder cried during her testimony, and the judge called a break to allow her to regroup. Watson remained somber, however.

But when her testimony resumed, Watson was seen wiping away tears as Paula Snyder recounted how Watson asked to see his wife's body after he was told she had died.

Witness in Alleged "Honeymoon Killer" Trial Describes Tina Watson's Death

Paula Snyder said Watson was in a "trance" and kept going over what happened. In a diary she kept, she described the incident as a "horrible nightmare" for Watson.

Prosecutors claim that Watson turned off his wife's air supply long enough to kill her, then turned it back on and let her sink.

On cross examination, Stutz told the court that he couldn't see exactly where Watson's hands were when he went to his wife, and he agreed the current at the dive site was strong that day, strong enough that it pulled him off the anchor rope.

Watson has previously said that he swam to the top to get help, and another diver went down and retrieved Tina Watson's body.

Stutz said he assisted in performing CPR on Tina Watson, but never got a heart beat. He also told the court that Gabe Watson did not come to his wife's side as they tried to save her life.

Watson's attorney, Brett Bloomstom, asked Stutz on cross examination if it was unusual for family members to not watch resuscitation efforts because it is traumatic, and Stutz said that it was not unusual.

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