An American referred to in media reports as the "Honeymoon Killer" returned to the U.S. today, where he could face retrial for drowning his newlywed wife while scuba diving near Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Gabe Watson, 33, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport today escorted by three Queensland police officers and was immediately taken into U.S. custody.
Earlier this month, Watson, a U.S. citizen and Alabama native, completed an 18-month prison term in Australia after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of his wife Tina Watson, 26, in 2003.
The couple had been married just 11 days before the incident occurred. Australian prosecutors claim Watson shut the valve on his wife's air tank while scuba diving.
Australia delayed Watson's deportation, because the country, a staunch opponent of capital punishment, feared that if reconvicted in Alabama, Watson would face the death penalty. Only after the U.S. government pledged it would not impose a death sentence, did Australia agree to repatriate him.
Alabama Attorney General Troy King said Watson will face two murder counts once he extradited to the state.
Los Angeles police took Watson into custody upon clearing customs. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, earlier this week signed an extradition order, which would send Watson to Alabama where he will likely face a new trial.
Australian police said Watson turned off wife Tina's air during a scuba diving trip on their 2003 honeymoon.
Because of the complexity of the crime, it took Australian authorities nearly five years to charge Watson with murder in 2008. "It's been devastating," his wife's mother, Cindy Thomas, told ABC News early this month. "You never think your daughter will leave for her honeymoon and her husband will kill her."
Underwater video captured her apparently lifeless body on the bottom of the ocean.
At the time of the tragedy, Watson told authorities his wife panicked underwater and he couldn't save her.
But prosecutors said he was an experienced rescue diver with a motive for money: her life insurance policy.
Autopsy results found no pre-existing medical condition that could have explained the women's death and tests indicated that there was nothing wrong with her diving gear.
Watson pleaded guilty last year to a reduced charge of manslaughter and served his 18-month sentence in Australia.
Double Jeopardy rules do not apply to cases initially conducted overseas, opening the door to a retrial in Alabama, on charges that could likely carry a stiffer sentence. Alabama authorities will argue they can try him because he planned the crime in the state.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.