BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Feb. 15, 2012 -- A ghostly picture of Tina Watson lying lifeless on the ocean floor was entered as evidence today in the murder trial of Gabe Watson, who is accused of drowning his wife during a honeymoon scuba dive.
The photo, taken by another diver, inadvertently captured Tina Watson in the background with her arms splayed and lying motionless.
That picture has become an emotional icon in Tina Watson's October 2003 death in waters off Australia which resulted in Gabe Watson being dubbed the "honeymoon killer."
Watson, now 34 and remarried, teared up at one point during today's hearing as his interview with Australian police recounting how his wife died.
Prosecutors also appeared to attempt to cast doubt on Watson's version of what happened. He claims that his wife panicked and when he tried to help her, she accidentally knocked his mask off. By the time he recovered, he said his wife had sank beyond his reach.
But prosecutors elicited testimony today that Gabe Watson, now 34, was certified as an open water scuba diver, an advanced diver, rescue diver and specialty diver.
Accused "Honeymoon Killer" Tears Up During Murder TrialWhile his wife floundered, Watson surfaced to get help and a dive organizer went down to retrieve Tina Watson's body and then tried for 45 minutes to resuscitate her.
Earlier today, Australian police officer Ken Gheringer told the Alabama jury today that Watson was "calm and provided a lot of detail" about what happened underwater, but became agitated when told police would not return his dive computer.
The dive computer is considered key by the prosecution to prove its case that Watson lied to investigators after Tina Watson, his wife of 11 days, drowned while on their honeymoon. The dive computer, which looks like a large watch, tracks a swimmer's dive.
When the questioning was completed, Watson asked for his dive computer, but was told he could not have it back. The cop said Watson became agitated and twice asked to have it returned to him.
Prosecutors contend that shortly after Watson and his wife entered the water for their drive, Watson signaled to his wife to return to the boat because his dive computer was beeping, indicating the battery was incorrectly installed.
He borrowed a coin from someone on the boat to remove the battery and turned it around, and the couple resumed their dive.
Prosecutors argue that it was a ploy to get his wife away from other divers so he could kill her. They also argue that a dive computer wouldn't beep if the battery was installed incorrectly, that the computer wouldn't do anything at all.
Watson's lawyer, Brett Bloomstom, intends to present testimony that the Australian police never contacted the computer's manufacturer to see if the dive computer beeps when the battery is in upside down. The defense team did contact the computer maker who said it is designed to beep if the battery is incorrectly installed, Bloomstom said.
There were other divers around the Watsons when they returned to their dive and around 30 feet became concerned about the strong current.
"We both realized when we got in the current that it was too much and that's when we decided to turn around," Watson told police in a video that has been made public. "And that's when it happened."
Tina Watson panicked, her husband contends. When he went to help her, she accidentally knocked off his mask. By the time he fixed his mask, she has sunk out of his reach, his lawyer says. A fellow diver who took an underwater picture captured an image of Tina Watson lying prone on the ocean floor.
The prosecutor, however, claims Watson turned off his wife's air long enough to kill her and then turned it back on, letting her drift to the bottom.
Watson has already served 18 months in an Australian prison for negligent manslaughter, which is essentially an admission that he failed to save his wife's life when she got in trouble.
Alabama is prosecuting the case because it claims that Watson plotted while in the U.S. to kill his wife and collect what he expected to be $130,000 in life and travel insurance.
Watson's lawyer argued in his opening statement that his client did not receive any insurance money for his wife's death, that they were in love and her death was a "tragic accident."
Bloomstom also claimed that Tina Watson was a green diver sent on a dangerous "red flag" dive, that the shop did not have her take an orientation dive, and that she was outfitted with 20 pounds of weights, too heavy for her body.