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Husband of slain woman deported from Australia

American will likely face murder charges

CANBERRA, Australia – An American man convicted of manslaughter in his wife’s honeymoon death was deported today from Australia to the United States, where he is likely to face murder charges for the 2003 drowning.

Gabe Watson, 33, boarded a flight from Melbourne accompanied by Immigration Department staff and Queensland state police officers, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said.

Watson had been in immigration custody since completing an 18-month prison sentence earlier this month. Australia, a staunch opponent of capital punishment, delayed his deportation until it received a pledge from the U.S. government that it would not seek the death penalty against Watson.

Prosecutors in Alabama, Watson’s home and a pro-death penalty state, want to try him again over his wife’s death, and are expected to seek murder charges.

Bowen said Watson returned voluntarily after both Alabama and U.S. federal authorities guaranteed that he would not face the death penalty.

Under Australia’s Extradition Act, a person cannot be deported to face prosecution on a capital charge unless there is an assurance the death penalty will not be imposed.

Watson was dubbed the “Honeymoon Killer” by the Australian media after his wife of 11 days, 26-year-old Tina Watson, drowned during a 2003 scuba diving trip on the Great Barrier Reef with her husband.


 

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Sen. Maria Cantwell says governments should not be on the hook for coal mine cleanups

UPDATED: 12:25 p.m.

updated  WASHINGTON – Congress should end a practice that puts the federal government and states at risk of paying for expensive coal mine cleanups when mining companies go bankrupt, according to a new finding by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The GAO, an investigative arm of Congress, is recommending that lawmakers eliminate the ability of coal mine owners to self-certify their financial wealth, known as “self-bonding.” The controversial process lets owners avoid putting up collateral or getting third-party surety bonds – a requirement of companies in every other energy sector.