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.
Witnesses Dispute Version By Accused "Honeymoon Killer"
Watson has already served 18 months in an Australian prison after pleading guilty to negligent manslaughter, essentially admitting that he failed to save her.
Prosecutors in Alabama have charged Watson with murder, claiming Tina Watson's death was planned in the U.S.
Prosecutors claim Watson expected to collect $130,000 insurance after she died, but Watson's lawyers argue that he did not collect a penny following his wife's death.
Testimony earlier in the week drew tears from Watson as he listened to his own videotaped description of how his wife died.
A photo of his wife lying motionless on the sea floor was introduced as evidence and an Australian police officer testified that Watson was calm and cooperative until he was told he could not have his dive computer back.
The dive computer is a watch-like device that tracks a swimmer's dive. Watson and his wife quickly returned to the boat at the beginning of his dive because his computer was beeping. Prosecutors contend that was a ploy to get his wife away from other divers to kill her and that a computer wouldn't beep if the battery was in upside down.
Watson's legal team said in their opening statement that they checked with the computer's manufacturer and were told it was designed to beep if the battery was improperly installed.