A Fiji judge harshly rejected three character witnesses who wrote letters supporting bail for Bradley Dawson, the Tennessee man accused of murdering his wife Christe Chen during their Turtle Island Resort honeymoon in July.
One of the witnesses was already out on bail himself, Judge Riyaz Hamza pointed out.
“It is the opinion of this court that it is highly unsatisfactory for the applicant to be residing with a person who has been charged with serious offenses before this court, in the event of being granted bail,” Judge Riyaz Hamza wrote in the order dismissing Dawson’s bail application, Fox News reported.
One of the character witnesses, Johnnie Lee Berger, an American national and friend of Dawson’s, is out on bail himself, according to court documents. He is also facing pending sex assault charges.
The judge also wrote that under Fiji law, a defendant’s presumption in favor of bail is void in cases involving allegations of domestic violence. The court said that detectives provided “strong circumstantial evidence” in the case and that Dawson, facing a possible life prison sentence and with no other known ties to Fiji, is a possible flight risk.
Dawson, 38, is accused of beating Chen, 39, to death in their cottage at the five-star luxury resort, which is on its own private island.
Chen was found with more than $1,000 cash in his wallet, his passport, driver’s license and credit cards belonging to both himself and his late wife when he was arrested.
Prosecutors said Chen suffered a “brain bleed” on July 9 and confirmed in court claims made by Chen’s family attorney, who said she died of severe traumatic head injuries and multiple traumatic injuries to her body.
Dawson has pleaded not guilty to the charges. A hearing on an alleged confession he made is scheduled for Sept. 26.