Tennessee honeymoon murder in Fiji: Court documents reveal judge’s scathing dismissal of bail application


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FIRST ON FOX: A Fiji judge wrote a scathing rejection over three character witnesses who supported bail for Bradley Dawson, the Tennessee man accused of murdering his wife Christe Chen on their honeymoon at the Turtle Island Resort in July. One of them was already out on bail himself.

“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, obtained by Fox News Digital.

Johnnie Lee Berger, identified in court documents as an American national and family friend of Dawson’s, is out on bail himself. According to prosecutors, he is facing pending sex assault charges.

Hamza rejected two other “sureties,” or bail sponsors, as well.

AMERICAN WOMAN KILLED ON FIJI HONEYMOON HAD ‘HORRIFIC’ INJURIES THAT WERE NO ACCIDENT: LAWYER

A Fiji judge rejected three character witnesses who supported bail for Bradley Dawson, the Tennessee man accused of murdering his wife Christe Chen on their honeymoon at the Turtle Island Resort in July.
(Christe Chen/Instagram; Tim Tava for Fox News Digital)

“The first surety has merely stated that she is a family friend of the Applicant,” Hamza wrote. “The second surety also states that the Applicant is a family friend who is known to her for the past six years. However, the sureties have not provided any further details as to how they know the applicant, who only arrived in Fiji on 7 July 2022.”

The judge also noted that under Fiji law, a defendant’s presumption in favor of bail is void in cases involving allegations of domestic violence.

READ THE JUDGE’S ORDER:

FIJI HONEYMOON MURDER: AMERICAN BRADLEY DAWSON ‘NOT IN GOOD HEALTH,’ ASKS FOR BAIL IN WIFE’S BRUTAL MURDER

The court also noted that detectives provided “strong circumstantial evidence” and that Dawson, facing a possible life prison sentence and no other known ties to Fiji, is an alleged flight risk.

Christe Chen Dawson pictured in a school photo from the University of Tennessee.

Christe Chen Dawson pictured in a school photo from the University of Tennessee.
(University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy)

Dawson, 38, is accused of brutally beating Chen, 39, to death in their cottage at the five-star luxury resort, which is located on its own private island.

At the time of his arrest, police said they found him with more than $1,000 cash in his wallet, his passport, driver’s license and credit cards belonging to both himself and his deceased wife.

Prosecutors said Chen suffered a “brain bleed” on July 9 and confirmed in court the claims of Chen’s family attorney, who previously said she died of severe traumatic head injuries and multiple traumatic injuries to her body.

Waterfront cottages at the exclusive Turtle Island Resort in Fiji as seen from a boat offshore.

Waterfront cottages at the exclusive Turtle Island Resort in Fiji as seen from a boat offshore.
(ZMR Clicks)

Dawson has pleaded not guilty and his defense attorney Iqbal Khan is contesting unsigned statements Dawson made to police, known in Fiji as a “caution interview,” in which he allegedly confessed to killing Chen. After the interview, he declined to sign the document and, through his attorney, has maintained that he is innocent.

A hearing on the disputed confession is scheduled for Sept. 26.

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Prosecutors and attorneys for Chen’s family had opposed bail for Dawson, who they argued is indeed a flight risk after he allegedly ditched his GPS watch and phone at the resort and fled with just his wallet and passport in the hours after Chen’s brutal beating death. Khan said the state is already in possession of Dawson’s passport, that he consented to surrendering it and that he has no other passports or travel documents.

Tim Tava contributed to this report.





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