After legal advice, ‘Honeymoon killer’, Bradley Dawson, recants confession – now claims his rights were breached when he confessed fatal beating of his wife, Christe Chen, to Fiji cops
So called honeymoon killer Bradley Dawson who is charged with the murder of his wife, is claiming that his rights were breached when police officers in Fiji heard him confess to Christe Chen’s murder
Dawson,39, allegedly beat his new bride Christe Chen, also 39, to death at the $3,500-a-night Turtle Island Resort two days after they checked in for their honeymoon
Dawson from Memphis, appeared in court in Lautoka, the second-largest city in Fiji, on Monday after being denied bail for the murder on Sept. 14
Chen was found brutally beat up that her body could not be embalmed, and she was cremated before her parents took her ashes home to the US
On the night of the murder Dawson left his GPS watch and mobile phone but took his wallet and passport and fled to an island 1.2 miles away
When taken into custody Dawson cops said admitted beating he beat Chen to death
Once he retained legal services, Dawson reportedly, recanted, stopped cooperating with investigators and refused providing DNA sample
Dawson now claims he was unjustly interrogated by local authorities – His lawyer told the judge that his client’s constitutional rights may have been breached during questioning
The newlywed husband accused of murdering his wife in their honeymoon bungalow on an exclusive private island in Fiji has challenged the ‘quality’ of the police evidence against him at a court hearing today.
Bradley Dawson, 39, from Memphis, Tennessee, is accused of the fatal battering of his pharmacist wife Christe Chen, 39, on July 9 at the secluded $3,500-a-night Turtle Island Resort in the South Pacific nation, just two days into their honeymoon.
Chen’s brutally beaten body was found slumped in the small space between the toilet and the wall of the bungalow’s bathroom.
Dawson an IT worker in the music capital who is currently being held in custody in the island nation, returned to the Lautoka High Court in Fiji Monday where his defense lawyers are contesting unsigned statements he allegedly made to police after his July arrest in the murder of his new wife on their honeymoon.
Dawson is accused of beating Chen to death at the five-star Turtle Island Resort, which is located on a scenic private island.
Prosecutors allege Dawson confessed admitted to the killing in what Fiji authorities call a “caution interview.” However, Dawson never signed the statement, and his attorney, Iqbal Khan, maintains his innocence and is asking the court to throw out the document.
Dawson appeared at the High Court in Lautoka on Monday morning local time where his lawyer told Judge Riyaz Hamza that his client’s constitutional rights may have been breached.
The lawyer, Iqbal Khan, also questioned the admissibility of a caution interview done by police after his arrest in July. He has now applied for what is known as a voir dire hearing – or, a trial within a trial – which has been scheduled for October 19.
Dawson, who has pleaded not guilty to Chen’s murder, will make a fresh bid for bail later this week after his initial application was denied on September 14 after the judge ruled that it was unsuitable for him to stay with an American man who is facing rape charges in Fiji.
Meanwhile, lawyers acting on behalf of Chen’s family told DailyMail.com that her parents were ‘euphoric’ that he was refused bail. Ronald Gordon of Gordon & Co said the family understood resource constraints faced by investigators in Fiji and said they would wait to see justice carried out.
Dawson, who has pled not guilty to the murder, will make a fresh bid for bail later this week after his initial application was denied on Sept. 14 after the judge ruled it was unsuitable for him to stay with an American man who is facing rape charges in Fiji for the duration of the trial.
Dawson, who hails from Memphis and married Christe following a three-month whirlwind romance, has now applied for Voir Dire, [pre-jury selection], hearing that was slated for October 19.
Police said Dawson made the now contentions admission in a statement at the time of his arrest, but later recanted after he sought legal advice.
Chen, a Memphis pharmacist, and Dawson, who met in November 2021, married after a whirlwind romance three months later. She was found dead two days into their honeymoon at the elite private resort. The bride’s parents, who were regulars at the resort, sponsored the couple’s honeymoon.
A medical examiner ruled Chen’s death a murder and found she suffered a traumatic brain injury caused by a brain bleed, severe traumatic head injuries and multiple traumatic injuries to her body.
Her body was so badly injured she was not able to be embalmed, and she was cremated before her parents took her ashes home to the US.
Police said Dawson walked it back the contents of a statement he made at the time of his arrest, when he sought legal advice.
In the unsigned statement produced in court last month, Dawson allegedly told police that on the night of Chen’s death they were both at a beach party with staff and other guests at the resort.
‘Christe started to have some shots and I went to have some kava, and dance to the entertainment. Then Christe and I went back to the bure (cabin). On the way back, we argued about something, which I could not recall because we were really drunk.’
He added that the pair then changed for bed, and when he tried to hug her she got angry and questioned whether she wanted to be with him.
In the unsigned statement produced in court last month, Dawson allegedly admitted to his police interviewer’s that they got into an altercation that night.
He told cops that after the row on their return from the beach party, they changed for bed, but when he tried to hug her she got angry and questioned whether she wanted to be with him.
The pair then got into a physical spat, according to Dawson, which he said left Christe injured but still alive
‘Our argument moved to the toilet … and that was when Christe pushed me and that was when I lost it and we had a scuffle. It just seemed like it was bad.
‘The back of the toilet broke, the glass of the window broke and the toilet was a mess. When the scuffle was over, Christe was in the bathroom next to the toilet. She was hurt and she was sitting down with blood and a cut on her face,’ Dawson allegedly told cops, according to the unsigned statement read in court.
Dawson and Chen married in February after a whirlwind romance, three months after they first met, and her parents had paid for the honeymoon.
The night Chen died, she and Dawson had attended a party – dubbed ‘family fun night’ – with island staff and other guests on the beach where both were ‘very drunk’.
According to some witnesses, tensions arose between the couple when Dawson started acting inappropriately with someone else at the party.
‘They were enjoying themselves and drinking quite a lot but towards the end they looked troubled,’ the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
It’s understood the couple then left the party and their argument continued on the beach before they headed back to their private bungalow about midnight, where the fight continued.
‘Not long after that, guests in the bungalow next door said they heard arguing, a loud scream, and then silence.’
Chen was later found bloodied on the bathroom floor by a personal butler around midday.
She had suffered multiple traumatic injuries to her body and shoulders, lacerations to her face and blunt force trauma to the head, according to a post-mortem exam report.
A source told DailyMail.com that the lid of the toilet’s cistern was cracked and broken. The couple’s personal butler found her body squashed and slumped between the tiny space between the toilet and the wall, badly beaten and covered in blood, according to sources.
The victim’s body reportedly, showed that she’d was so badly beaten that she was unable to be embalmed and her parents had to cremate her before bringing her ashes back to the United States. Notably, she had suffered very deep lacerations to both sides of her head, near her eyes, that the embalming fluid would have leaked.
Chen’s death was ruled a murder by the medical examiner who found that she died from a traumatic brain injury caused by a brain bleed, severe traumatic head injuries, and multiple traumatic injuries to her body.
Dawson had fled the island resort by the time Chen’s body was discovered.
On the night Chen was killed and Dawson vanished, he was seen walking the length of Turtle Island in the early hours of the morning by the night watchman, before he went back toward the private bungalow.
By the time Dawson was seen again, he had been missing 36 hours and police had been on the hunt for him since the couple’s personal butler found Chen dead and covered in blood on the bathroom floor, and raised the alarm with Turtle Island Resort management.
Dawson claimed he used a kayak to paddle 1.2 miles from Turtle Island Resort to Matacawalevu Island in the dead of the night on Saturday, July 9. The kayak has never been found.
Dawson left his GPS watch and mobile phone in the bungalow, but took his wallet and passport before fleeing across the water, 1.2 miles away to a secluded beach on Matacawa Levu Island.
Gordon said it suggested that he’d been headed toward the mainland – which is about a two or three hour boat ride away – in the hopes of fleeing Fiji.
It’s understood a manager, who had been at the same party with the couple the night before, called Fiji Police Force in the nearby city of Lautoka, just under an hour from Nadi International Airport.
Before the alleged killer could make his destination, a local found him, cut and bruised, on Matacawa Levu nearly two days later, as he walked toward the island’s village.
Monoa Ratulele stated that Dawson told him that he used a kayak to paddle to the island between 2am and 3am on Saturday morning after having a fight with his wife. Chen’s family lawyer has pointed out that the kayak Dawson allegedly used for his flight has never been found.
Ratulele said he encountered Dawson bruised and bleeding from his palms and feet. The stranger also ‘appeared disturbed’ and obviously drunk, so Ratulele offered him water and help.
‘At first he kept refusing food and water and insisted he was ok, but I insisted he had some water and after that he said – Please, I need to call the police.’
A team of three police officers soon arrived on Matacawa Levu Island to take Dawson back to Turtle Island and then to Lautoka on Fiji’s main island Viti Levu, where he was charged with murder.
Once he engaged the services of legal counsel, Dawson reportedly, refused to provide DNA samples to officers.
His lawyers also claimed he never confessed to the attack, despite police’s claims, with arguing that he should be granted bail. His initial bail application last week, was denied.
Chen’s parents arrived in Fiji days later after being informed of her death by the State Department. It’s understood they also viewed her badly battered body in the Lautoka morgue before she was cremated.
The family’s lawyer, Ronald Gordon, has said that they will take civil action against Dawson if he is not held criminally liable for her death and have not ruled out legal action against Turtle Island Resort.
He added that he would have opposed any bail application.
‘The family will follow the proceedings to ensure justice is served for Christe given the horrific injuries she endured,’ he said.
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